Today you may find yourself coming across some extra 'crunchy' spots along the trail. When you do, take a moment to look closer, you may have just come across a patch of Needle Ice!
Needle ice is a natural phenomenon which occurs when the temperature of the soil is above freezing and the surface temperature of the air is below freezing. The subterranean liquid water is brought to the surface via capillary action, where it freezes and contributes to a growing needle-like ice column.
While growing, they may lift or push away small soil particles as you can clearly see in the photo. On sloped surfaces, needle ice may be a factor contributing to soil creep.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.