Haareis or "Hair Ice"

Hair Ice 2014 (Photo: Robbin Whachell) On one of my many walks through Hoy Creek Trail in Coquitlam, B.C. close to where I live, I was snapping photos with my cell phone, and I happened along this amazing phenomenon.  It looked like an explosion of cotton, but as I looked closer I then realized it had to be an ice or frost formation.

What made me doubt that it was ice though, was that there was no snow on the ground. I can't believe I never reached out to touch it. Not knowing what it was, I felt inclined not to disturb it, so I kept on my way.

I  have since learned it is called Haareis or "Hair Ice" - an ice or frost formation.  What is most amazing is that the ice appears to be coming out of the tree stem itself.

"Hair Ice is ice that grows outward from the surface of the wood, as super-cooled water emerges from the wood, freezes and adds to the hairs from the base," says Dr. James R. Carter, Professor Emeritus, at Illinois State University, who wrote about Hair Ice on his website  (HERE) and interestingly enough, many of his photos are from Vancouver Island, Canada.

"... the hairs of ice do not grow from linear fissures in a stem but rather appear to come out of pores in the wood.  As such they are similar to hair on a head," writes Dr. Carter.

I am surprised I've never seen Hair Ice before in all my years living in B.C., and I will definitely be keeping a look out for more for these beautiful formations.