Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting Better

Winter that is. Winter in the North Country has not been fun so far this year. We started off with a couple of snow storms which isn't unusual but that was followed by alternating freezing rain & sleet storms that left 7 to 8 inches of ice on our roof and on the fields. Immediately after that the temperature dropped below zero F and I could walk anywhere with out falling through (provided I managed to stay upright on the ice). Finally we've had two days of thaw, the first at almost 60°. That took the accumulated Ice and snow down substantially.

I took a walk on snowshoes back to out woods today. The ice is no longer strong enough to hold me but it still bears marks of the sub-zero spell. There are cracks all over the yard, the meadow and the woods from the frost quakes (cryoseisms) that we experienced. When water freezes it initially expands but as the temperature continues to drop the ice starts shrinking again. If it is in large sheets the strains of shrinking can make it crack with a popping or booming sound. Frozen saturated soil can do the same thing. Sometimes it can mimic an earthquake. We didn't feel any significant shaking but there were several booms and the back meadow has the long cracks that caused the sound. Some run for hundreds of feet. Below is a photo of two intersecting cracks. It has begun to melt and is wider than it was when it first formed.

Back in the woods I found more cracks and these prosperous fungi growing on a fallen tree that is "hung" at a 45 degree angle. It broke in a wind storm, Next spring I have to figure out how to finish felling it.

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