Frazil: New Ice Forming

Ruffles of ice surround an oily-looking partly frozen roseate pattern, and at first glance I believe I am witnessing the final farewell of a piece of Arctic ice, as it joins the great melted body of water. But no. It is new ice forming! Snow falls on sea water, and conforms to the seawater’s flat surface. Frazil spindles coalesce into grease ice, and then these oily looking blobs rub against one another forming pressure ridges as the chilly laminate begins to freeze. The first layers laid down on the water form lacy algae-like patterns like a section viewed under a microscope, a disembodied pattern of edges against a black surface, a woven tapestry of silver thread upon black velvet. Quite a beautiful farewell to the liquid state it once knew, this first layer of ice’s footprint, a line drawing of the new bloom, a liquid in freezing conditions transforming into solid space. The melting and the freezing continue. It appears that the latter is winning out. 2012 marked the lowest ice although this year the Arctic has had an abundance of snow and Spring has come late to Svalbard. Who will remember the ice when its gone? The air is still. The sun is making water of the ice. Something new is taking shape.

See the companion work: Vanishing Tracks