Ice spikes

Have you ever taken an ice tray out of the freezer and seen a little spike of ice poking right out of one of the cubes? What in the world is going on there? If you’re inclined to believe in Intelligent Designers, you might well believe it’s an example of ice being kissed by an angel. Or perhaps the frozen remains of an aroused Ice Cube Gnome. Hmmm, maybe the angel kissed the Ice Cube Gnome and then… never mind that. Anyway, it turns out this same phenomenon also puzzled some clever folks at Cal Tech. Their research revealed a pleasing physical explanation: as ice is starting to cover the water in the tray, it’s also expanding. Under the right circumstances, the water “crust” on the top is left open somewhere near the middle and a frigid slow-motion volcano of water starts coming up through the hole. The result is a little icy stalagmite.

As USATODAY breathlessly puts it: You, too, can grow ice-cube spikes in your own freezer!. Their coverage focuses on work by Steve Morris of the University of Toronto.