This brief video, from David Attenborough’s new series about polar life, Frozen Planet (discussed in the previous post about Discovery Channel’s refusal to show the climate change episode), makes me really want to see the show.
As described by PuffHo (yes, there’s sometimes good stuff there), a brinicle is an underwater icicle that forms from the surface down as dense, subzero-degree salt water (chilled by the air around sea ice) sinks, causing the warmer waters around it to freeze. Note how the brinicle forms a web of ice on the sea floor as it hits bottom, killing all the starfish and sea urchins it touches.
Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson filmed the stunning time-lapse clip below, which is apparently the first of its kind. Shot for the BBC’s “Frozen Planet,” the clip was recorded using a special time-lapse camera that caught the brinicle’s entire formation process.
Miller and Anderson captured the brinicle’s formation near Little Razorback Island, close to Antarctica’s Ross Archipelago. The duo found a number of fully formed brinicles close to the site before finding one in the process of forming.
These ice formations were known as ice stalactites until 1974, when Martin Seelye developed the now generally accepted theory of their formation.
The show’s website features a bunch of other nice clips, though I haven’t been able to view them in Spain.