Monday, February 28, 2011

Neat Lake Champlain Ice Pictures

With Vermont experiencing 'wintry mix' again, and the sidewalks covered in ice and ball-bearing shaped sleet, it is necessary to think about ice a lot when navigating around.  It's not all bad, though.  The cycles of freeze and thaw have brought some amazing ice formations to Lake Champlain.

About a week ago, during a thaw and before the lake froze most of the way across, my friend Neahga was down by the lake and captured some amazing scenes of ice and water.  Some of it looked a bit like frazil ice, and it seems to have formed when a thin layer of ice offshore fractured during a thaw.

ice waves

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lake Champlain 'Closed' by Ice?

This morning, while walking towards the UVM campus in single digit temperatures, I noticed something odd about the lake. It took me a minute to realize what it was, but I realized there were no little ripples or waves. None at all. There wasn't much wind at the time, but even during seemingly caml days the lake always has a few ripples on it. Also, the reflections were just a little bit weird. They seemed kind of warped and blurred.

It took me a minute to realize what had happened. The lake had frozen over. From what I could tell, the ice extended all the way across the lake.

Cold 010

(Note the thicker ice in the harbor, which is much whiter because its surface is bumpy and it is covered in snow)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beauty in Destruction

Earlier this month I was walking across a parking lot near a construction zone and found this:


I'm not sure exactly what it was, but it definitely wasn't supposed to be in a runoff area. It was also really beautiful.

It was a very cold morning, and the morning sun was melting some snow on the Davis Center on the UVM campus, which was then refreezing into icicles that I unfortunately could not reach to color.


This has been a long winter, and as the cold stubbornly refuses to leave (it is in the single digits out there right now), I keep alternating between not wanting it to end, and feeling nostalgic for summer. Oddly, I am somehow not as excited for the Vermont spring, muddy and dark and cold but full of new life and rushing water. I am hoping that as it comes I will be glad to see it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Neat Stylized River Maps

My friend Eli just linked to a website of stylized river maps, created to look like subway maps. These maps simplify the tracks and courses of rivers, and act as another way to think about how watersheds are laid out. Pittsburgh does show up on one of the maps, too!

The maps are too large to post on this blog, but go to this website to see them for yourself!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vermont Buried in Snow

Vermont, and many other parts of the northern hemisphere, are buried in snow.

It's been a very snowy year here.  The coldest of the winter has probably passed, but snows and below-freezing temperatures have continued.  Most areas of Vermont, even in the Champlain Valley, have 2 to 3 feet of slow on the ground.  Along roads and sidewalks, the berms and piles of snow are 4 to 6 feet tall.  I even saw one pile of snow near a parking lot that was over 15 feet tall!  Walking is an adventure even in the cities, and outside of plowed areas, travel is not possible without cross country skiis or snowshoes.

Truly, cold weather is here.


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Panther Hollow Lake 'Delta'


As water flows into Panther Hollow Lake from Panther Hollow Run, it slows down. This causes it to drop sand and other coarse sediment near where it enters the lake. The resulting formation is a small delta, with features also found in much larger deltas.
This delta, as well as silt and clay deposited elsewhere in the lake, are leading to the lake filling with sediment, which results in a smaller, muddier, and more polluted (due to shallow water becoming warmer in the summer) lake.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Thunderstorms with rain are very common in many parts of the world, usually during times of warm weather.  Thundersnow is much more rare but does happen on occasion. For some reason, it has happened several times in several different places this winter, including New York City, Boston, and Chicago.  Last night Vermont had something even weirder - Thunder-Wintry-Mix.

Ice and snow on trees atop Chipman Hill the day after the ThunderWintryMix.