WWE: Mystery on Frozen Pond

In mid November, I was walking around our campus on a frigid day, and noticed some blobs on one of our frozen ponds. From a distance with the naked eye, it looked like ducks frozen in place with their heads sticking out of the water. Of course, I knew it couldn’t be that – probably clods of dirt, but how did they get into the middle of the pond?

I didn’t have my camera with its zoom lens with me, just my cellphone, so I took a couple of pictures, which basically reproduced what I was seeing with my own eyes. It didn’t get me any closer to figuring out WHAT was on that frozen pond.

Here’s the image I took with my Samsung Galaxy:
20191116_155253
What I found curious is that the blobs all had white streaks behind them, as if there was something just below the frozen surface.

I walked home as quickly as possible to get my husband and my camera. It was close to sundown already and I didn’t know if the phenomenon would still be there the next day, since the temperature was supposed to rise above freezing, so I suggested we drive over to the pond (which Dale calls “Swan Lake” when the swans are on it). We both brought our cameras and stood on the bank near the water’s edge. I fitted my zoom lens onto my Sony and magnified it to 300mm, the highest it would go. In the tiny image I could see on the viewfinder, I still couldn’t tell what it was.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve finally gotten around to downloading the photos I took that day onto my computer. Here’s what I discovered:
DSC02532
DSC02533
The blobs were clumps of wet leaves that had blown into the pond just as it was freezing, creating the effect we saw.  The white streaks around the clumps seem to indicate that due to the leaves, the freeze was slightly thinner in those spots; perhaps a few leaves had frozen just below the surface.

Meanwhile, here is another cellphone photo I took that day, of the other pond on campus. I liked the wavy ridges that appeared on its frozen surface.
20191116_153300

Posted for Jez Braithwaite’s Water, Water Everywhere photo challenge.

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