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Frozen Wave: A Rare Phenomenon In The Antarctic

frozen blue wave

A frozen blue wave measuring at least 50-feet-tall was captured in photos in the Antarctic. The incredibly rare phenomenon is reportedly caused by compressed ice. The blue cast which appears on the ice is caused when ice bubbles are compressed and absorb light from the “red end” of the spectrum, according to the Daily Mail.

When first glancing at the camera images of the wave, the water appears to have instantly frozen just before the water would have broken against the shore. Some viewers feel that the photographs depict a frozen tsunami wave. The frozen blue wave is largely believed to be a rare and natural phenomenon. Scientist Tony Travouillon at Dumont D’Urville took the stunning images.

During the summer months in the Antarctic surface ice melts and new ice layers compress on top. Larry Gedney had this to say about the frozen wave on the Alaska Science Forum:

“It takes an appreciable thickness of pure ice to absorb enough red light so that only the blue is transmitted. You can see the effect in snow at fairly shallow depths because the light is bounced around repeatedly between ice grains, losing a little red at each bounce. You can even see a gradation of color within a hole poked in clean, deep snow. Near the opening, the transmitted light will be yellowish. As the depth increases, the corer will pass through yellowish-green, greenish-blue and finally vivid blue. If the hole is deep enough, the color and light disappear completely when all the light is absorbed.”

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