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November 20, 2011

This is:

  1. A microscopic sample of transparent aluminum
  2. Heisenberg! I told you he was real, man.
  3. The Fortress Of Solitude
  4. Something I dug about 70 lbs of out of an old freezer yesterday

(Please note that option 4 does not preclude option 2)

UPDATE after reading up on ice crystals:

I understand how most freezer frost forms: you open the door and water vapor gets in.  It condenses and freezes. But these crystals are a different matter.  Super-clear and pure, they formed in a sealed storage container full of spaghetti sauce that lay entombed for over a decade in a chest freezer. It was surrounded by hundreds of pounds of other frozen things so there couldn’t have been a lot of temperature variation.

Not a lot of evaporation takes place at -18 c, but my guess would be that tiny variations in temperature set up a cycle of sublimation and condensation.  Airborne water molecules arranged themselves in crystals according to their 105-degree bend. Some of the angles visible in the picture reflect this.

The larger crystal shown here is about 2cm long. Those are not fracture lines at the top and bottom – they are shown here as they appeared when the lid was lifted.  They were so beautiful I could have spent an hour photographing them, experimenting with light, shining lasers through them.

I wonder if, in the frozen darkness of some cave on an icy planetoid somewhere, there are enormous, clear ice crystals formed by the same gas deposition process – twenty meters or so in length?  Is there an upper limit to the size of ice crystals?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 24, 2011 at 13:39 | #1

    Is there an upper limit to the size of ice crystals?

    W.Heisenberg “Dunno, I’m uncertain” ;-)

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