I found these curious frozen puddles in the parking lot of the Rocky Hill section of the Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath last weekend. Earlier last week we had some rain and warm temperatures but the temperatures rapidly plummeted over the next few days. This puddle’s diameter was just under a meter.

Even though some sections of the puddle appeared white, the ice wasn’t completely frozen. I could see the middle section of the puddle.

According to Douglas Smith of the Universities Space Research Association:

The shallowness of this puddle suggests that it rapidly froze; only a thin water layer remained below the puddle. Then the fast-falling temperatures likely caused the ice to contract, which produced the cracking. Continued cooling widened the cracks. The ring pattern shows that the main direction of the stress force was radial, but the scalloped pattern along the rings shows that some stress varied with angle around the center. The small amount of water that didn’t freeze rose into the cracks due to the hydrostatic pressure of the ice above and capillary action. Water in the rings then froze and expanded, and as it did it widened the rings and also directed the remaining small amount of liquid to the top of the ice. The slight bulges on the bottom of the rings were remnants of its last contact with the deepest water. In other words, the unfrozen water at the bottom of the puddle was, in essence, pushed and suctioned into the cracks.

I didn’t know that at the time I saw the puddles but I was fascinated by the shapes.

My wife and my son love the change of the seasons. I love it too but there is one season I despise. Winter! Brr! Here’s why.

  1. It’s pitch black outside by 5 PM (EST). I get up in the dark and get home in the dark. Ugh!
  2. I have darker skin. Endless days of grey and darkness leads to vitamin deficiency. I have to pop vitamin pills to stay healthy.
  3. The cold. I will now be confined to living rooms, the insides of offices, and cafes, and other stuffy spaces.
  4. I can’t wear shorts and t-shirts anymore. See number 3 above for why.
  5. Shovelling snow. It might be fun to toss around snowballs and make snowmen but shovelling two feet of snow from a driveway, walkway and steps is NOT fun.
  6. Driving in snow, sleet, ice, slush etc. Ever hit a patch of ice while driving down the road at rush hour? Ever lose control of your car and go sliding into a tree or worse, another car. Ever slip on a patch of ice on the sidewalk and fall on your ass?
  7. Flu season. Every fracking year.
  8. Winter clothes are pieces of suck. In the winter I generate enough static electricity to charge an iPhone. It’s very difficult to give myself an insulin injection through a thick sweater. My shoes get damaged from wet slushy salt that then dries and cracks the sides and soles of my shoes. It’s very difficult to use a camera when it’s freezing outside.
  9. It’s all grey. Nothing grows. No green. Just grey skies, grey dirt, grey … it all looks like death and decay.
  10. Lack of outdoor photographic opportunities. Winter gives me a few choices for outdoor photography all of which need me to wear bulky winter clothes and brave the ice cold weather.