Photo of the Week – February 14, 2019

Last weekend, I went out to see how our family prairie was looking. Honestly, it didn’t really look that much different than it had a few weeks ago, but it was sure nice to be out there. I made my way down to the pond and wandered around on the ice with my camera. What stood out more than anything else were the bubbles in the ice. Much of the ice looked like a glass of 7-Up soda had instantly frozen solid, suspending all the rising bubbles in place.

Surely someone has studied the reasons behind all the various patterns and bubbles that form in ice. I can grasp the processes behind some of what I’m seeing, but much of it remains as fascinating mystery to me. This week, the biggest mystery was the myriad tiny streams of bubbles around every plant stem I could see within the ice. The stems appeared to be fuzzy because them. I assume the stems were releasing some kind of gas (methane?) but the explanation for the shape and pattern of the frozen lines of bubbles was beyond me. Regardless, my lack of understanding didn’t diminish my enjoyment of them. I hope you enjoy a selection of ice bubble photos from that day…

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

11 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – February 14, 2019

  1. These are stunning photos. They help me make sense of what I see when I look at the frozen edges of the Missouri River. Thank you for sharing your artist eye and your curiosity.

  2. Stunning, indeed!! It may be time for a “Winter on the Prairie” photo exhibit (with hot chocolate for the reception)!

  3. Ah, the wonder of frost, BUT you have to get out and look down and close! Too many don’t unfortunately and don’t know what they are missing!
    Your frost pictures are MUCH better than mine. ThanksX!

  4. Your post reminded me of a chapter in Walden Pond by Thoreau where he describes bubbles frozen in the ice. When I first read the book years ago I got a bit frustrated by his verbosity on the subject. But my own observations of frozen wetlands and your images have altered my perspective a bit. I think I can appreciate his description more now.


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