Written by Cody Charette
On Wednesday, January 16th, a giant ice disk was seen spinning in Westbrook, Maine on the Presumpscot River. The city of Westbrook posted some pictures, and the drone shots look stunning. Before people start claiming it as the work of aliens, let me explain what an ice disk is and how it forms. According to The New York Times, they occur when “a pile of slush freezes in an eddy or a piece of ice breaks off from another and begins to rotate. As it turns, hitting rocks and water, the sides are shaved down.” This causes the ice to form a disk, that slowly rotates due to the flow of water around it. Ice disks are quite rare and occur in slow moving water in cold climates.
This particular ice disk is special, though. Average ice disks are usually 20 to 30 feet in diameter, whereas the one spotted on The Presumpscot River is an estimated 300 feet in diameter. In the picture below, you can see that the ice disk is larger than the nearby parking garage on the shore. It may not be aliens, but it’s still quite a sight to see!