Ice Disk 2019

Ah, 2019. Simpler times. No masks. No quarantining. No swabbing what feels like one’s brain. No vaccines. No social distancing. Just a big ol’ circle of ice in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine.

This natural phenomenon went completely viral. The disk formed during this same time in 2019 and was determined to be 300-feet wide according to Weather.com.

Dustin Bonk/CBS13 Twitter
Dustin Bonk/CBS13 Twitter
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While Westbrook’s disk received a ton of attention it’s certainly not the only place ice disks form. They can happen all over the world.

How Does an Ice Disk Form?

Seeing the disk through a time-lapse (since it is a slow rotation) one may assume it rotates because of the current. That was my personal assumption and come to find out, incorrect, kind of.

Researchers from the University of Liège in Belgium found that the ice disk cools the water that surrounds making the water at its most dense which results in a vortex as reported by Weather.com

Time went into more detail noting the Earth’s rotation and that the disk follows that which helps to achieve the perfectly round shape. The disk moves slower than the river current which is part of the “vortex” previously mentioned. During this process, more ice accumulates.

The Ice Disk Returns

The Ice Disk made an appearance in 2020 but far smaller. This year appears to be huge although no official measurement has been done.

The Ice Disk said on Twitter (because of course there’s a Twitter for the Ice Disk) don’t call it a comeback.

And while everyone is posting their 10 Year Photo challenge on Facebook and Instagram, the Ice Disk tweeted out a three-year challenge.

It’s definitely a cool sight to see. And as someone that missed the disk the first time around, I was happy to visit on this chilly January day. Check out the photos of the Westbrook Ice Disk 2022!

Westbrook, Maine Ice Disk 2022

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