The temperatures dropped this past week and remained below freezing until today when it warmed up to just above. With the colder temperatures the smaller lakes, and ponds have frozen over. As soon as the ponds iced over, the methane produced by decomposing organic material in the mud at the bottom could no longer escape and started pooling on the underside of the new formed ice. As the ice thickens and pushes down into the water below it surrounds and encapsulates the bubbles. As methane production and ice growth continue, amazing formations can and are created.
This week I also noticed that the further from the surface the larger the bubbles that form. I theorize that the deeper the ice moves into the water, the slower it’s growth as the older ice insulates the water below from the cold. As the ice growth slows, there is more time for methane to gather and the bubbles that form are larger before being encapsulated.
Over the past week the bubbles that I’ve found forming on a small pond near the community gardens here in Fairbanks have been amazing. In this collection are some of the best images I’ve taken starting on 10.14.19. Instead of embedding the images into a stand alone blog, I’ve created a gallery as I am planning on adding to this group throughout the winter. At least until we have a coating of snow, the formation of methane bubbles will continue to be visible and readily available to photograph.
Last winter I knew the bubbles were in the ice of the ponds and laskes I was exploring, but we had snow very soon after the ice formed and photographing them became much more difficult. It was easy to find bubbles even with the snow, but to find interesting compositions not so much. Also without snow the surface of the ice is perfectly clear and smooth, but that also changes with the falling snow. For as long as the snow holds off I will use the time I have to photograph as many of these formations as I can and add to this gallery.