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January-February 2014

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Weather Front

Studies Borne of Sheer Curiosity May Have a Ripple Effect

The curious nature of winter icicles that form in bulging ripples led two physicists to a surprising, and possibly consequential discovery. It has been theorized that the ripples result from surface tension affecting the thin water film that flows over ice as it forms. The actual culprit, according to experimental physicist Stephen Morris and Ph.D. candidate Antony Szu-Han Chen from the University of Toronto, is salt.

KIMBRA CUTLIP is a freelance writer and former assistant editor for Weatherwise.

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