Ryan Kehler was hiking north of Harrison Hot Springs when he found this somewhat rare phenomenon known as hair ice or angel hair frost, formed on cold, wet wood under the right circumstances. (Contributed Photo/Ryan Kehler)

Ryan Kehler was hiking north of Harrison Hot Springs when he found this somewhat rare phenomenon known as hair ice or angel hair frost, formed on cold, wet wood under the right circumstances. (Contributed Photo/Ryan Kehler)

Harrison-area photographer captures rare ‘hair ice’

Ryan Kehler found the strange weather phenomenon on an early morning hike

Local photographer Ryan Kehler spotted a somewhat rare gathering of fine filaments of ice on a branch in the Trout Lake area north of Harrison Hot Springs.

According to The Smithsonian, this “angel hair frost” or “hair ice” has been studied for more than a century.

Hair ice is most commonly found between the 45th and 55th parallel on a cold morning. Although it’s not completely clear why the ice forms white, hair-like filaments, scientists believe hair ice is formed on wood surfaces through a phenomenon known as ice segregation. This happens when liquid water in wood pores freezes when it comes into contact with cold air, creating icy surface that holds a thin film of water between the ice and the wood. Intermolecular forces push the water toward the ice, creating the thin ice filaments springing from the wood.

Hair ice is extremely fragile and melts quickly under the sun, making this capture all the more unique.


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