Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 8, 2013

The ice on Lake Wicwas did survive the warm weather this week, though it took a toll on it.  The hard, black ice softened, and lost a half an inch of depth, down to about 1-1/2" thick.  The rain that fell covered the surface creating a reflecting pool above the ice.

Then a miniscule amount of snow came and fell on the ice, creating an opaque surface after it froze, transforming the visual appearance of the lake more towards its typical winter character.

It may look stronger and more secure than black ice, but it's only a deception!

On a walk along the shore I found an area that divulged the multiple stages of the lake freezing over.

The inner part of this cove froze first, with two more periods of cold extending the ice out each time.  The final freeze came after a south wind that blew leaf debris up against the ice where it will probably remain captive until spring (this was before the snow fell).

If you're on the NHLakes email list you received a nice description of the freezing process of New Hampshire's lakes - you can find it here:  How Lakes Freeze

The cracking on the lake last weekend was influenced by the lake level being drawn down, lowering the lake surface while the ice was anchored to the shoreline at a higher level.  This introduced cracks all along the shore.  This week, the rain brought the lake back up again, which raised the ice and allowed water to flow up through the cracks, over the ice sloping upwards towards the shore. 

On my walk along the shoreline I came across fresh signs of deer around the lake, so it looks as though some survivors will make it through the end of hunting season.  The squirrels are also digging in the still-soft ground as well, collecting food for winter.

I also noticed buds on the beech trees, already prepared for their new growth in 2014. 

Perhaps this is what lets them be one of the first trees to push out leaves in the spring.  It is also interesting that beech are among the last trees to lose their leaves in the fall (many are still hanging on, even with snow collecting on them).

I wonder if the deer and squirrel feed on these buds during the winter.

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