The ice crystals in this gallery include some of the first crystals I found this fall/winter. The crystals early in the gallery are smaller, and many are found on plants. As the season progressed, the crystals grew larger and more were found on ice. With consistently cold temperatures below freezing, the crystals started to increase in size.
Last winter I was just discovering how widespread ice crystals are in the interior of Alaska. I started out looking for them in cracks in the ice, but by the end of the winter I was finding them growing on plants, in ice cracks, and on trees. This winter with that knowledge under my belt, I was better able to find crystals and observe changes in location and type during the changing season. Early crystals grew from almost any surface as moisture contained within porous materials started to come out and freeze. On non porous surfaces, ice crystals formed when the suns rays were strong enough early in the season to melt surface moisture and allow it to then refreeze when the sun moved off the surface. Both of these sources of ice crystals stopped producing when the temperature fell consistently below freezing and stayed there.
At the end of this gallery are crystals more like what I’m finding right now that are formed where moisture from the ground is escaping through cracks in ice. The crystals at the end of this gallery and the ones I’m finding now are often much larger and better defined. I will be putting up a gallery starting where this one breaks off and going till Jan. 25, 2020. There is not a good reason for the breaks other than it represents the length of time I went before sorting images. Enjoy.