Hoarfrost lends an eerie beauty to Merrill
TINA L. SCOTT
Heavy moisture-laden air has covered our community in recent days, lending an eerie beauty to Merrill and the surrounding countryside. Trees lining city streets almost appear to be blooming with white flowers, but it’s not spring yet. And it’s not flowers filling out those branches; it’s ice crystals. The feathery, almost delicate looking, ice crystals covering the branches of trees and other objects out in the cold are called hoarfrost.
According to Britannica.com, hoarfrost is a “deposit of ice crystals on objects exposed to the free air … formed by direct condensation of water vapor to ice at temperatures below freezing and occurs when air is brought to its frost point by cooling.” Somewhat similar to the way dew is formed, air mass is saturated except that, in the case of dew forming, the temperature is above freezing, and hoarfrost is formed when the temperatures are below freezing. Britannica.com says, “the air must be initially damp enough so that when cooled, it reaches saturation, and any additional cooling will cause condensation to occur.”
Whatever the scientific explanation, the result is beautiful.