The Mystery of Wrinkled Icicles: Solved

The Mystery of Wrinkled Icicles: Solved


“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” –Alice Walker


Icicles form ripples by the same wavelength pattern, world over

Written & Photographed by Laura Maaske, MSc.BMC, Medical Illustrator & Medical Animator

It’s still cold here in the Midwest and not yet through our arctic winter, but with all the cold has come this beautiful array of icicles not yet melting. I have just learned that icicles are smooth if they are made from distilled water. And they are rippled if the water has minerals and salts. This rippling, in fact, occurs at the same wavelength, world over. Nobody claims to know why the wavelength is the same, or even how why the ripples form as a result of the impurities.


© 2104 Laura Maaske - Medimagery LLC.

Icicles with impurities will wrinkle


My daughter is fascinated by the idea that a whole icicle will form from a single drop of water. For me, her interest in this idea is a reminder that many things begin with a single stroke, a single point: an Aleph.


wrinkled icicles


Please have a look at my Facebook post and become involved in the conversation: Post by Laura Maaske.


For more information about the science behind this principle of icicle formation, read the University of Toronto study results: Impurities key to icicle wrinkles


March 4, 2014

Laura Maaske, B.Sc., M.Sc.BMC, Medical & Science Illustrator | Mobile Health App Designer

Laura Maaske – Medimagery LLC
Medical Illustration & Design

About Laura Maaske

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