Articles, Blog


October 17, 2019

You probably don’t give much thought to
ice unless you’re thinking of ice skating in the winter or cooling a beverage in the
summer. Ice is abundant not only on Earth but throughout
the solar system. Here in Wyoming, we appreciate the many forms
of ice – from snowflakes to glaciers. Ice is formed when there is a phase transformation
of water from liquid to solid. Ice can also form when there is a direct transformation
from vapor to solid. This phase change will leave your lawn a frosty
white or require you to scrape the frost off of your windshield. The types of ice are various and include:
glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, icebergs, snowflakes, hail, frost, icicles and ice spikes. The formation of ice can be beneficial or
harmful to living organisms. Because ice has a lower density than water,
it floats. This helps protect organisms living in the
water by insulating them from the harsh conditions above. Ice formation can also be very destructive. If ice forms in cells, the crystals expand
and shatter the cells. If the damage is extensive enough, the organism
dies. Before the advent of modern refrigeration,
ice was a very valuable resource and was harvested and stored through the summer. We don’t need to harvest ice anymore but
we still rely on the formation of ice for many of our winter activities. From the University of Wyoming Extension,
I’m Mae Smith, Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

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