Stump with a lush coat of ice fur

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Stump with a lush coat of ice fur

Post by vibramhead » January 3rd, 2016, 8:54 am

While hiking in Moran State Park on Orcas Island on a very cold morning last week, we encountered this bizarre wonder of nature:


It was a rotten stump covered with a lush coat of incredibly fine ice fur, maybe 2 inches long, that disintegrated when I touched it. I'd never seen anything like this. I'd seen plenty of hoar frost before, and the crunchy ice crystals that rise up from muddy ground when it freezes, but this stuff was much finer and longer than either of those. It turns out this this phenomenon is called ice hair, and results from just the right combination of mycelium fungus-covered wood and cold temperatures. Scientists have only recently worked out the mechanism that leads to this. It generally grows only at night and melts off in the daytime, so we happened upon this stump at just the right time.
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Re: Stump with a lush coat of ice fur

Post by Limey » January 3rd, 2016, 11:26 am

That has got to be the coolest ice formation I have ever seen. What luck to come across it at just the right time.

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Re: Stump with a lush coat of ice fur

Post by -Q- » January 3rd, 2016, 11:31 am

That is incredible.
Holy smokes

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Re: Stump with a lush coat of ice fur

Post by BurnsideBob » January 3rd, 2016, 12:56 pm

Wow!! Thanks for the explanation. My son Chris and I saw a couple less impressive examples at Silver Falls State Park Dec 30. Growing on rotting salmon berry canes.

Shoulda taken a photo!!
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Re: Stump with a lush coat of ice fur

Post by kepPNW » January 4th, 2016, 6:50 am

Interesting! I've called these "frost flowers" before, but I like your cite/name much better. Seen them on the backside of the Cape Horn trail before, and just this last week they were all over the woods up at WSUV. (Looks like you've run into the group camp's "restroom" area when you stumble upon them.)
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