When you watch the shocking video footage that recently came out of Michigan, you’ll think that what you’re seeing is a man-made creation. But this perfectly circular spinning disk found in a Michigan river is, against all odds, a natural phenomenon.
When a local was on his way to work last Friday, he slammed on the brakes of his car when he saw the eerie circle of ice spinning in the river. He later shared it on social media where it was quickly picked up by Storyful.
The footage, shot by Michigan local Jason Robinson, was captured from the Schmied Road bridge that crosses the Pine River near the town of Vestaburg. Learn more about this strange phenomenon that has had experts baffled for decades…
Although scientists know that this perfect circle of ice is a natural occurrence, they have been baffled by how it spins for decades. But recently, they think they may have figured out why it is happening.
But for local Jason Robinson, watching the circle of ice spin was both mesmerizing and eerie…
“I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff in the woods – things you don’t expect to see,” Mr Robinson told Michigan Entertainment.
Although the phenomenon has been known for over a decade, scientists only recently got down to the bottom of why it happens. What goes into these spinning disks of ice is quite mesmerizing.
At first, scientists hypothesized that these ice circles were created by currents or eddies in the water. They thought these were pushing the ices.
But since some of these perfect circles were observed to be more than 55 feet across, they realized that the water-current theory wasn’t holding up. When run through computerized models, they realized that eddies failed to cause these to rotate.
But in July of last year, scientists from Liège University in Belgium used magnets to simulate the conditions of these ice disks. With petri dishes, they discovered that blocks of ice rotated even when there was no current. Why? Because of melting ice.
These perfect circles spin when ice is melting, not when water currents push it back and forth.
When Robinson returned to the perfect circle spinning in the Michigan river on Saturday, the edges had frozen and it was no longer moving.
Although amazing, this isn’t the first time the perfect ice circle has been caught spinning on camera. In 2013, a 73-year-old retired engineer, George Loegering, found one while hunting with relatives near the Sheyenne River in North Dakota.
“At first I thought, no way!” Loegering said. “It was surreal. You looked at it and you thought, how did it do that?”
The man calculated the diameter of the disk to be about 55 feet. He snapped pictures and took videos and share it on the internet.
“It’s not an unknown phenomenon, but it is relatively rare,” said Loegering who lives near Fargo, ND.
Allen Schlag, a National Weather Service hydrologists from Bismarck, thinks the combination of cold and dense air helped create the eerie phenomenon.
“It’s actually quite beautiful,” Schlag said. “It’s not a continuous sheet of ice. If you were to throw a grapefruit-size rock on it, it would go through. It’s not a solid piece of ice — it’s a collection of ice cubes.”
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