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January 17, 2011


David McConnell

This is only a guess. We're looking at frozen SALT water mist. The temperature was low enough to freeze salt water, but the chloride ions somehow partially imposed their own crystalline shape on the resulting ice. It wouldn't happen in frozen sea-water which would go directly from liquid to solid. But maybe the slow accretion of salt water vapor made these shapes possible.


I live in Seattle. A couple weeks ago, on a cold but sunny day, I was noticing how the grass in shade was frosty and the grass in sun was not; there was a distinct dividing line. I picked up a blade of frosty grass to get a better look and I observed the same square-crystal phenomenon you site here, at least, I think it was (I didn't have a magnifying glass with which to really check it out closely). I then held the blade of grass in the sun to see what would happen. The crystals went from white to clear and finally melted together enough to form a single drop of water. Elapsed time: 7.4 minutes.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore


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