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Piles of Snowball in Siberian Beach Considered as Rare Natural Phenomenon

Nov 09, 2016 04:00 AM EST
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Nature has once again proved that it is the world's best builder as the unusual mix of perfect temperature, wind and tide rolled up some astonishing snowballs along an 11-mile stretch beach near the Gulf of Ob in Siberia.

Despite looking like man-made, the snowballs in the Siberian beach are all natural. The snowballs have different sizes that range from the size of a tennis ball, about 2.7 inches, to almost 3 feet across. The snowballs were formed as a result of a rare environmental process. Water in the Gulf of Ob rose and covered the beach in ice. As the low tide comes, the small ice forms in the beach rolled along the sand, making the snowballs.

"It is a rare natural phenomenon. As a rule, grease ice forms first, slush. And then a combination of the action of the wind, the outlines of the coastline, and the temperature, may lead to the formation of such balls," explained Sergey Lisenkov, a spokesman for the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), in a report from Siberian Times. "It is a rare natural phenomenon. As a rule, grease ice forms first, slush. And then a combination of the action of the wind, the outlines of the coastline, and the temperature, may lead to the formation of such balls."

According to the report from CBS News, villagers near the Gulf of Ob reported seeing such event for the first time. While the formation of snowballs can be considered as rare, a similar phenomenon occurred along Lake Michigan in 2014. Chunks of ice sheets that cover parts of the lake in winter broke off and churned in the waves, becoming ice spheres.

Another kind of snowballs that occur in the perfect concoctions of wind, temperature and snow is the snow rollers. Snow rollers can be shaped like doughnuts, hollow tubes and snowballs. It only occurs when light, sticky snow are blasted with strong winds under cold temperatures.

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