What are these mystery ice balls?
December 9, 2018 9:28 PM   Subscribe

We went biking along the frozen mudflats that serve as our ocean beach in Anchorage, Alaska today and found a 1/4 mile stretch strewn with these weird ice balls. What are they/how might they have been formed?

-they are completely frozen balls of ice- I rode over a bunch and they didn’t seem to have any rocks inside

-they’re about 3” around

-they probably appeared in the last week, since that’s the last time we were out there

-weather in the last week has not included big balls of ice flying from the sky

-weather in the last week has mostly been in a band between 28-38 degrees Fahrenheit, with a bunch of rain and a little snow

-we have had a day or two that were fairly windy

-tides have not been spectacularly high or low (for us)

-we did have a pretty big earthquake since the last time we were out there

-I have been spending a lot of time on the mudflats in the winter over the last five years and have never seen this phenomenon before

-they were located on the shore below this park

Any ideas?
posted by charmedimsure to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Like this?
posted by Toddles at 9:32 PM on December 9, 2018


Maybe? Or at least formed similarly? Ours are much less dense on the beach, are all approximately the same size and are on average quite a bit smaller than those, but it’s probably the right idea
posted by charmedimsure at 9:37 PM on December 9, 2018


I've seen something similar on the shores of the Great Lakes. See here for some history and notes about how they form.
posted by RichardP at 9:53 PM on December 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


I vote for Richard P.’s answer. It’s been warm and so the sheets of ice could have melted easier than usual.
posted by kerf at 10:26 PM on December 9, 2018


A possible variation on pancake ice?
posted by rrose selavy at 4:35 AM on December 10, 2018


I vote for glacier poop.
*nods solemnly*
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 6:03 AM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


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