In a rare weather event, a beach in Finland was covered in thousands of ‘ice eggs’, and it was amazingly captured by Amateur photographer, Risto Mattila. They were found on Hailuoto Island between Finland and Sweden in the Gulf of Bothnia.
How the ‘Ice Eggs’ in Finland Came to Be
According to experts, this phenomenon happens through a rare process where ice gets rolled repeatedly by both wind and water. Over time, smaller pieces of ice become bigger, much like how you’d form a snowman by rolling snow into a ball, and allowing it to continue building up. According to the photographer who captured this photo, who is from the nearby city of Oulo, he had never seen this happen before.
Mattila said in an interview with BBC, “I was with my wife at Marjaniemi beach. The weather was sunny, about 32F, and it was quite a windy day. There we found this amazing phenomenon. There was snow and ice eggs along the beach near the water line.”
The ice balls ranged in sizes, from football-sized to egg-sized, said Mattila, and they covered an area of about 100ft. Mattila said, “That was an amazing view. I have never seen anything like this during 25 years living in the vicinity.” He continued, “Since I had a camera with me, I decided to preserve this unusual site for posterity.”
Perfect Cold and Windy Conditions Need to be Met
In order for the ice balls to form, BBC Weather expert George Goodfellow said that the conditions need to be a bit windy and cold. He said, “The general picture is that they form from pieces of larger ice sheet which then get jostled around by waves, making them rounder.”
He continued, “They can grow when sea water freezes on to their surfaces and this also helps to make them smoother. So the result is a ball of smooth ice which can then get deposited on to a beach, either blown there or getting left there when the tide goes out.”
Finland isn’t the only place where ice balls have been known to make an appearance. Lake Michigan near Chicago and Russia have also had reports of them forming.