Frozen Waves


“I called to the other men that the sky was clearing, and then a moment later I realized that what I had seen was not a rift in the clouds but the white crest of an enormous wave.”

— Ernest Shackleton

PressureWaves-0464

From Scott base hill the rolling white ripples in the ice appear like ocean waves from open water. It is so similar that it looks as though winter hit suddenly the year before and froze the ocean in place. However, these formations are not actually waves frozen in place, but rather the waves of pressure formed by compression of the ice sheet moving forward and buckling the weaker sea ice. As the gain size over time they fold, thaw, and freeze again forming a natural ice sculpture garden that the seals and skua enjoy as much as the people here.

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