brown pelican ice sculpture

cold hard facts: ice trivia


This is the spot for ice and ice carving trivia and anomalies. If you have a bit of ice trivia and you don’t see it here, then email icecarvingsecrets@mac.com.
(click the headings below to see the trivia.)
  • 12 crystalline states of ice and 2 amorphous states
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    Ice “Ih” (Roman numeral “1” with lowercase “h”) is the one we’re used to, but there’s a bunch more kinds of ice formed by various combinations of temperature and pressure. Frequently the “ice” takes on a different crystalline structure when it assumes a different state.

  • -40˚
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    This is the spot where the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales intersect. So -40˚F is the same temperature as -40˚C. Either way, it’s REALLY cold!

  • ice-nine
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    A fictional version of this state of ice was a major problem in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Cat’s Cradle.” There is a real Ice IX, but fortunately, it’s much less dangerous.

  • 9%
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    When water freezes to become ice, its volume increases by nine percent. This drop in density is why ice floats on water and allows lakes and rivers to freeze over rather than under.

  • ice bending or creep
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    Yes, bending. Ice will bend, not just break. It has to happen slowly, and under the right conditions, but there will be several examples of this very real phenomenon on this site (check back later)

  • fire from ice
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    With a little help from the sun, you can indeed get fire from ice! Curious carvers in Fairbanks fashioned ice into large ice lenses that focused the sun’s heat on nearby combustibles much like a young boy will use a magnifying glass to set ants on fire.

  • absolute zero
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    This is the temperature at which all motion stops. It’s at about -273° C. This would also be the point at which hell freezes over. Really.

  • shipping ice to the tropics
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    In the 1800’s, before mechanical refrigeration was invented, ice harvested from lakes in the northern U.S. was shipped to places as far away as India and regarded there as a great luxury.

  • ice machines
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    Not what you think. Many times, ice has been used in place of other materials to create working machines. For example, the group Ice Alaska put on an ice cannon contest for the first time in 2008 as part of the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks. Contestants tried to hit a target with a tennis ball that was shot from their own cannon. More recently, in 2010, ice was used to make a working guillotine (for chopping watermelons).

  • 5/5/2000
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    It was on this date that a worldwide cataclysm was supposed to occur due, in part, to the weight of the polar ice caps. The book that made this bold, and fortunately false, prediction was written by Richard W. Noone and titled: “5/5/2000: Ice - The Ultimate Disaster.”

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