A hiker captured the incredibly rare phenomenon of an ice disk on a mountain walk in the Scottish Highlands.
32-year-old David Brown from Dunoon, Scotland was hiking up the “Munro,” a Scots word for a peak above 3,000 feet in elevation, when he came across the rare sight with his father.
“I was hiking Beinn Bhuidhe… with my father,” Brown recounts. Visibility wasn’t great, but after about an hour-and-a-half the snow stopped and cloud cover started to clear.”
“We took a break to fill our water bottles from the burn by the track—that’s when we noticed the ice disk slowly spinning at the foot of a small waterfall.”
Both David and his father had never seen or experienced an ice disk in the flesh and were taken aback.
The Meteorological Office lists ice disks as “a rare phenomenon that tend to occur in very cold oceans and lakes.”
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They are the result of a naturally forming vortex when the water temperature in frozen areas rises and the ice begins to melt. As the warmer water sticks to the surface, the colder water sinks creating the vortex which spins the ice.
Brown said they are often seen in the Baltic Sea or the Great Lakes.
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“Neither of us had ever seen anything like it: a perfect circle of ice slowly rotating in the water, so we thought it must be a rare occurrence and took some photographs and videos,” he said.
“We assumed at the time that it was caused by the flow of the waterfall meeting the current of the burn. We hadn’t encountered anyone else on the hike, it felt like we were the only people for miles around, so then to happen across something so serene and perfectly formed, it felt surreal.”
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