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Thousands of bizarre ‘ice balls’ cover beach in Finland

The Weather Network logo The Weather Network 2019-11-08 Isabella O'Malley

Thousands of egg-shaped ice balls covered a beach in Hailuoto, Finland, with the smallest being the size of eggs while larger ones were the size of soccer balls.

The Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton explains that these oddly shaped balls of ice form when chunks of ice sheets on the water near shore break up into smaller pieces and then stick together as they are rolled around by the water's turbulence.

Temperatures have to be extremely cold for ocean waters to freeze since they can remain as a liquid near 0°C, unlike freshwater. The light winds and freezing conditions contributed to water splashing onto the balls, which then froze and expanded their size.

The specific weather conditions needed for the formation of ice balls have some considering this to be a rare phenomenon and locals have reported that they have not seen anything like this before.

This stunning sight can happen in various places across the globe, including in the Great Lakes region where large ice balls formed on a cool, breezy day on Lake Huron in January 2017.

Both Canadian lakes and ocean shorelines could be places where ice balls form, however they are more likely to form by lakes because these waters tend to be calmer. The ocean current by British Columbia tends to be too warm for this phenomenon, however, the North Atlantic is colder and could be a location with ideal conditions for the formation of ice balls.


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