What caused the 100 yard piece of spinning ice ducks are using as a “Duck-go-round” in Westbrook, ME?
WESTBROOK, ME — Monday, January 15th was just like any other day for Rob Mitchell, the owner of Ethos Marketing, located in the small town of Westbrook, ME (roughly 100 miles north of Boston, MA). Well, it was. Then Mitchell peaked out of his office window overlooking the Presumpscot River and saw ducks sitting on a spinning… ice disk?
“The ducks were rotating on this big Lazy Susan,” said Mitchell. “It was a big duck-go-round.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it.” Said Mark Battle, an associate professor of physics at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME.
As the 300 foot ice disk continued spinning, locals grabbed their cameras and smart phones and began snapping photos of the peculiar piece of ice. While the crowd of locals continued to grow in size, so did their conversation surrounding the surreal sheet of ice. “Oh no! The world is coming to an end,” said Joshua Nason (via Facebook).
“😮.” Said Kelly Willis.
Once the original shock wore off, the conversation shifted to the origins of the disk. Battle attributed the formation and spinning of the disk to three factors: the river current, the thickness of the ice, and the friction caused by the ice grinding against the shoreline.“It’s definitely not being caused by the Coriolis force (that objects experience because of the Earth’s rotation).” Said Battle.
According to data found in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Liege, in Belgium. The study explains that the spinning occurs due to temperature changes, not because of the river’s flow/current. “As water warms it becomes less dense, and as it’s cooled by surface ice. As a result a vortex is formed.” (Researchers came to this conclusion by replicating in a lab how temperature changes water density.)
Despite what might have been first reported, this is not the first time this phenomena has taken place. Back in January 2016, Michigan had a similar ice disk appear on the banks of the Pine River.
Although it’s not the first time a piece of spinning ice has been discovered. The excitement and joy surrounding the 100 yard wide sheet of ice has not been lessened for the locals, “It’s certainly not every day that you can watch a spinning circle of ice in the river.” Said Doug Bertlesman.
Sometime early Thursday morning, the ice sheet stopped spinning. Thus ending the duck’s joyride on the “duck-go-round.” The cause of the ice stoppage? The ducks ran out of carnival tokens.