With so many U.S. cities dealing with the aftermath of the extremely devastating snowstorm Jonas a while ago, it might be hard to find any pleasure in anything related to winter. The enormous snow load brought traffic to a halt, people could not get to where they needed and it was so cold that snow actually appeared in some surprising places such as Georgia and even Florida! However, snow is one of the most remarkable things Mother Nature uses to create breathtaking natural phenomenon. Made from ice and snow, the incredible winter wonders you are about to see are truly unique (in spite of the fact that most of these frozen wonders last for a very short period of time).
Just a few decades ago, some of these amazing winter spectacles were quite common in many parts of the world but now, thanks to climate changes, they are becoming rarer and rarer. If you liked our 25 Astonishing Winter Photos From Around The World, you will definitely enjoy this list. From astonishing ice caves and frozen waterfalls to striped icebergs and ice volcanoes, these are 25 Incredible Frozen Wonders You Have To See This Winter.
An ice cave is any type of natural cave (most commonly lava tubes or limestone caves) that contains significant amounts of perennial (year-round) ice which – when lit by daylight – creates spectacular displays in the cave. This beautiful ice cave formed in Alaska.
Formed by biting polar winds, freezing waters and sub-zero temperatures, these breathtaking carved icebergs can be found in the west of the Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica.
Also known as ice disc or ice pan, the ice circle is a rare natural phenomenon that occurs in slow moving water in cold climates. Ice circles are thin and circular slabs of ice that rotate slowly in the water. In 2013, a giant ice circle of over 50 ft (15 m) in diameter was observed in North Dakota.
In Greenland, the world´s largest island 80% of which is covered under a permanent ice sheet, ice canyons sometimes form. Known as the Birthday Canyon, this 150 ft (46 m) deep canyon carved by melt-water is one of the most photographed features of the island.
The main difference between a glacier and an iceberg is that glacier only forms on land and it is usually larger than an iceberg that floats – mostly submerged – in water. Known as the Upsala Glacier, this glacier is located in the Los Glaciares National Park in Southwest Argentina.
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Frozen waterfalls form gradually by progressive freezing of the flowing water.
Characterized by freezing rain and strong winds, ice storms can create incredible ice sculptures by encasing trees and other objects in a solid ice wrap. One of these creative ice storms created this ice formations on the Michigan St. Joseph Lighthouse.
A glacier cave is a cave formed within the ice of a glacier by water running through or under the glacier. Partly submerged, this stunning glacier cave formed in the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. The ice facade is approximately 200 ft (60 m) high.
An ice spike is an ice formation that projects upwards from the surface of a body of frozen water. Ice spikes have been reported for many decades, although their occurrence is quite rare. These ice spikes were observed in the Rio Blanco River in Argentina.
What looks like an artificially dyed iceberg is actually a completely natural phenomenon. These astonishing Icelandic icebergs were left with bizarre colorful lines created by sea algae and sediment picked up by the icebergs on their way to the sea.
An ice shelf is a thick floating platform of ice that forms where a glacier or ice sheet flows down to a coastline and onto the ocean surface. Ice shelves are only found in Antarctica, Greenland and Canada. The Ross ice shelf (featured in the picture) is the largest in Antarctica.
If you’re enjoying these incredible frozen wonders, don’t forget to check out 25 Astonishing Winter Photos From Around The World.
One of the most common winter wonders, icicles form during sunny but freezing weather, when ice or snow melted by sunlight refreezes. Over time, continued water runoff will cause the icicle to grow. Occasionally, icicles can reach up to several meters in length.
Also known as window frost, ice flowers form when a glass pane is exposed to very cold air on the outside and warmer, moderately moist air on the inside. The artistic-like pattern of this phenomenon is caused by the imperfections (e.g. scratches or dust) of the glass surface.
Common on hilly terrain, snow rollers form when strong winds blow moist snow along the ground, piling it up into a cylinder-shaped ball. When a snow roller gets too heavy to be blown around anymore, it stops where it lies. It can grow as large as a barrel or oil drum.
An ice shove is a surge of ice from an ocean or large lake onto the shore caused by ocean currents, strong winds, or temperature differences. Creating piles up to 12 m (40 ft) high, ice shoves can even damage buildings and plants that are near to the body of water.
One of the most amazing frozen wonders is actually the most common. Snowflakes consist of an unimaginable number of water molecules growing at different rates and in different patterns.
What looks like a gigantic ice castle rising from the sea is actually an astounding example of a rare phenomenon known as the blue ice. In this phenomenon, ice bubbles are compressed and light at the red end of the spectrum is absorbed, leaving the ice masses blue in color.
In January 2015, these bizarre ice bubbles were spotted in a lake in the Banff National Park in Canada. In fact, these bubbles were full of methane created by microbes consuming dead organic matter on the bottom of the lake. The bubbles normally rise to the surface but in winter, they got trapped inside the ice.
These frost flowers grow during cold, calm conditions with extremely high salinity and concentrations of other sea water chemicals. This happens when the atmosphere is colder than the underlying ice. These formations are usually found in the Arctic.
Officially known as ice fumaroles, the ice volcanoes are openings in the planet´s crust which emit steam and gases instead of lava. Antarctica is home to hundreds of these unusual ice chimneys that are formed due to the natural contrasting of hot and cold environment.
Photographed along the Lake Michigan in 2013, the ice boulders seem like a rare find, but they have actually been found around the world in locations scattered from Antarctica to the Arctic. Made of slush and so called frazil ice, they are formed by the action of waves turning them over and over, eventually rolling them into spherical shapes.
Also known as radiation frost or pruina, hoar frost refers to white ice crystals, deposited on the ground or loosely attached and exposed objects. It forms on cold, clear nights when conditions are such that heat radiates out to the open sky faster than it can be replaced from nearby sources such as wind or warm objects.
One of the biggest, deepest and cleanest lakes in the world, the Lake Baikal hosts a stunning natural phenomenon every March. Shifts in temperatures, wind, frost, and sunlight cause the frozen lake to crack, forming gigantic shards of turquoise ice that attract photographers from all over the world.
Sea ice arises as seawater freezes. Because ice is less dense than water, it floats on the ocean’s surface. Sea ice covers about 7% of the Earth’s surface and about 12% of the world’s oceans. Due to the action of winds, currents and temperature fluctuations, sea ice is very dynamic, leading to a wide variety of ice types and features.
Also known as glacier calving or iceberg calving, ice calving is a phenomenon in which large chunks of ice break off a glacier. A form of ice ablation or ice disruption, ice calving is normally caused by the glacier expanding. Calving of glaciers is often accompanied by a loud cracking or booming sound.