Snow Rings

2020 May 24

Back on April 16, 2020 [1], I was strolling down the hill from our house to see how the snowmelt was proceeding. Some of it was kind of picturesque. Like this spot, where the creek comes out of the woods before it flows down beside the road.

I like the way that the trees absorb heat from the sunlight, and melt the snow right around their bases. A bit further down, we are getting into the washed-out part of our road. The cliff right next to the road isn’t all that stable, there were some rockfalls.


Part of the cliff consists of Copper Harbor Conglomerate, which is pebbles cemented together to form a rock. As the conglomerate cliff weathers, it drops out round pebbles that roll down the hill.


And there was an odd thing, where it looked like a little ring of snow had rolled down the hill:




What apparently happened was this: a pebble fell out of the cliff and rolled down through snow that was just sticky enough to roll around the pebble into a snowball, just like you always see in cartoons [2]. But, the pebble didn’t get completely covered by snow, and when it stopped the sun could still shine on it. The pebble was much darker than the snow, and so it absorbed more sunlight than the snow did. It then eventually melted loose, a lot like the tree-trunks did earlier. And finally, the pebble dropped out of the snow, leaving a little ring standing on its edge.

Anyway, I thought that was a neat effect, and if I had come by even a day later I probably would have missed it.

[1] The snow is all melted now. Well, mostly. When we drove up to Copper Harbor two days ago (May 22), there were still some patches next to the road. But as of yesterday, the trees have abruptly leafed out and the grass turned green, so I guess winter is now over. Incidentally, I would have posted these pictures earlier, except that I took them with my phone, which did a weird thing. See, up until last September, it was putting pictures into the DCIM/Camera directory, just like you would expect. But then, after an Android update, it suddenly stopped putting them there. They were clearly still on the phone, because the camera app could still display them, but when I plugged my phone into my computer, they weren’t in the same place. It took a while, but after a long rummage culminating in removing the pictures from before September followed by a general search for .jpg files, I finally found them. They were stashed under Android/data/org.codeaurora.snapcam/files, which is completely unconnected to the former location. I have no idea why they are there or how it got that way, but at least now I know how to find them to transfer them off to the computer.

[2] This isn’t quite the one I was looking for, but it will do:

One Response
  1. Carole permalink
    May 24, 2020

    Looks very inviting to north Florida where I didn’t have any frost this year. Dune sunflowers haven’t stopped blooming.

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