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Mystery Photo

12-18-17 mystery photo by Martha Kent, submitted by Paula Kelley 20171215_151548(3) (003)What do you think is going on here? Answers should be entered under “Comments” at the bottom of this post on my blog at (Photo by Martha Kent, Winooski River, Richmond, VT on 12/15/17)

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44 responses

  1. Mikey

    Ice disk formed in an eddy

    December 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

    • Judy B.

      I agree

      December 18, 2017 at 9:23 am

    • JGB

      I agree about disc formed from an eddy

      December 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm

  2. We have these ice discs form each winter at thr bottom of our dam. It is caused by small discs joining into a mass. As the mass spins in the stream’s current it’s edge is carved by more solid ice.

    December 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

  3. Alan M Stoops

    A naturally-formed ice circle. First heard of these about a year ago, then saw a bunch of smaller ones in Stoddard NH later in the winter. A friend and I made an artificial “ice carousal” last January on Tolman Pond, hope to do it again this winter. Much fun.

    December 18, 2017 at 9:18 am

    • Jo

      How did you do this?

      December 18, 2017 at 10:28 am

  4. Alice Pratt

    That’s a huge one…I’ve seen those ‘ice pancakes’ at the bottom of a water fall, on either side of a fish ladder….much smaller, though & lots of them….real fun to see.

    December 18, 2017 at 9:24 am

    • Alice Pratt

      A silly one…River Otters making pizza crusts 😮😹

      December 18, 2017 at 1:11 pm

  5. Dan Maxon

    This phenomenon used to occur sporadically in my hometown (probably still does) and was even published in a Ripley’s Believe it or Not when my grandfather was mayor well over 60 years ago. The spinning disc of ice there was about 24′ in diameter

    December 18, 2017 at 9:31 am

  6. Sue Taylor

    Very interesting! First time I’ve seen one or heard about it. Nature continues to amaze!

    December 18, 2017 at 9:51 am

  7. Sue Wetmore

    It is probably not where a UFO landed but possibly where the water eddies forming the circular ice patch.

    December 18, 2017 at 9:52 am

  8. Don Metz

    Looks as if river currents have created an annular “whirlpool” around what appears to be an island. As the inboard edge of the whirlpool freezes, it attracts and freezes more water, causing the circumference to increase exponentially.
    Or could it be an alien’s frozen frisbee?

    December 18, 2017 at 9:52 am

  9. freeport maine

    this looks like an eddy that captured pieces of ice.

    December 18, 2017 at 10:14 am

  10. Doreen Morse

    Where a round ice fisherman’s hut was?

    December 18, 2017 at 10:22 am

  11. Anne woodhull

    My husband and I saw one of these many years ago. Somehow in a back Eddie a circle starts to form and goes around and around and around. It was beautiful. Like a potters wheel. It is being shaped by the rotation. Incredible.

    December 18, 2017 at 10:23 am

  12. dmonkman1

    We saw these near Peterborough, ON, last December. Here’s the observer’s hypothesis:

    Love your daily tweets and your Naturally Curious book!

    Drew Monkman

    Drew Monkman 705-743-0868 (home) 705-760-1436 (cell)

    Co-Author of the “The Big Book of Nature Activities” Winner of The Green Book Awards (Children) Winner of Double Gold (Nautilus Book Awards) Silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Finalist for the Independent Book Awards (Indie)

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” ― Carl Sagan “Be skeptical. But when you get proof, accept proof.” ― Michael Specter

    December 18, 2017 at 10:27 am

  13. Joan Allen

    Northern Woodlands Dec. 8 e-newsletter reported on an occurrence of an ice disk in the Adirondacks. It references the Physical Review E Journal, which said “conditions must be very precise in order for these circles to form” and that they “occur as a result of changing temperatures.” Or, you could say it’s magic.

    December 18, 2017 at 10:29 am

  14. Mark Dindorf

    This is an eddy ice disk, formed by a naturally occurring eddy in the river in which the water circulates continuously behind an obstruction in the current and the surface slowly freezes, causing the ice disk to form

    December 18, 2017 at 10:43 am

  15. Deborah Cushman

    Ice forming in an eddy.

    December 18, 2017 at 10:46 am

  16. I like the Ice Disk idea but I would go out on a limb and speculate that the water was frozen, and two ski mobils crossed over , doing 360’s while at it; then you had melting. At the center of the picture are what looks like two washboard marks, so that’s my wild 2cent guess. 🎅❄️

    December 18, 2017 at 10:46 am

  17. Josie

    I believe it is called an ice circle or ice disc.

    December 18, 2017 at 10:53 am

  18. The ice disc in an eddy is just too far fetched. I’m certain it’s a spot where a round intergalactic UFO with a super-efficient reverse heat pump hovered over the water and expelled frigid air downward as exhaust.

    December 18, 2017 at 10:54 am

  19. dp

    An otter dragged a trap onto the ice, where the chain got stuck, and then ran in circles until something broke free and it escaped?

    December 18, 2017 at 10:59 am

  20. Barry Avery

    Quite obviously an a Alien space ship landing site. It could be an underwater Spring too.

    December 18, 2017 at 11:28 am

  21. Jane

    Looks like someone had fun on a snowmobile, a bit too close to open water in my opinion!

    December 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

  22. Lorraine Plauth

    There was a recent article explaining this very amazing thing.
    “NY Family Stumbles Upon Incredibly Cool, Rare Natural Phenomenon While Hiking in Adirondacks”
    By Emily Fleming

    December 18, 2017 at 11:57 am

  23. I wanted to say this was a beaver lodge frozen in, but my husband guessed it was the result of water currents freezing in this shape. Looks like he was right. Darn!

    December 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm

  24. It’s one of Mother Nature’s works of art!

    December 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm

  25. Treah Pichette

    Looks like a crop circle! 😉

    December 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm

  26. Doug Sherry

    I think it has to do with the wire overhead. Maybe snow or ice dropping off and hitting the ice such that water under the ice ripples out and freezes, creating the circle.

    December 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm

  27. Joan waltermire

    Did a long chunk of ice fall into a thin coat of ice on the water and…you’ve got me beyond that! Ain’t nature grand.

    December 18, 2017 at 2:12 pm

  28. Thea Lahti

    An eddy that has formed around a log or rock, and then frozen. The eddy current must have been moving more slowly than the stream’s current.

    December 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm

  29. KT

    Hmm, my guess would be some sort of eddying or differential current rates causing rotational shear in the ice. My other guess would be otters on ice skates. 🙂

    December 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm

  30. Dan Allen

    This looks like an ice island rotated about some sort of subsurface center (rock or stump) close to the water surface . It is turned and ground round by the passing ice floes.

    Note that our email address was

    December 18, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    • If you have a new email address, you need to unsubscribe from wordpress and then re-subscribe using your new email address. I can’t change it, only wordpress can, unfortunately.

      December 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

  31. Kay Berggren

    An eddy at the edge of a stream can form a circle like this.

    December 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm

  32. Kathy Schillemat

    That is a huge ice pancake! We have seen similar much smaller ones at the bottom of a spillway and waterfall in Stoddard, NH. Interesting stuff. I don’t know how this one got so big!

    December 18, 2017 at 7:56 pm

  33. VDOT’s engineers have too much time in winter. Designing
    River Roundabouts seems like a waste of time. But Mother Nature has shown us not to disturb such beauty! Please NO salt!!! This a true river traffic calming devise. Ahhhhhh amazing!

    December 19, 2017 at 6:36 am

  34. Russ Patton

    I think the circular pattern is formed in the river by eddies. The movement of water does not allow the ice to form as one smooth piece.

    December 19, 2017 at 6:44 am

  35. Theodor Mommers

    Ice circle ,usually on a bend in the river where there are strong currents.

    December 19, 2017 at 8:00 am

  36. Marilyn

    A round tuit, definitely!

    December 19, 2017 at 3:30 pm

  37. cdhd2017

    A beaver swimming around his den could make this ice pattern around his home.

    December 19, 2017 at 5:37 pm

  38. Laurie

    How do we send you some pictures of an animal prowling around Lyme that has lots of people “naturally curious “?

    January 15, 2018 at 10:56 am

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