Monday, September 2, 2019

Physics of the Arctic :: physics arctic

The Arctic is a strange and unusual place where nature still rules with and icy fist. In the land of the "high noon moon", the extreme cold has a strange effect on the environment, the people, and even everyday objects that we take for granted act different. Ice rules the land and shapes it to it's will. Layers of cold air change a normal scene into a wonderland of color and mystery. Normal, everyday items take on unusual characteristics in the sub-zero climate. Ice wedges are structures where water has filled a crack or hole in the ground and froze over the winter. As the water freezes, it expands, making the crack bigger. As the Wedge gets bigger, the whole it creates gets bigger and gets fovered with sediments and dirt. On the surface, these ice wedges make the ground look like a patchwork of tiles, called polygons. As the wedge gets deeper, it begins to melt and the water is then put under high pressure from the surrounding ice and dirt. This causes the water to be forced to the surface. As it moves twards the surface, the rock and soil above it are pushed out of the way, making pingos. These pingos are usually a small hill with a ring or rock and soil at the center. Many pingos, thought, can reach the size of a house or other large building. When we think of a mirage, we usually think of a hot desert. In the arctic, though, the thermal layering of the cold air causes a similar effect. The effect is the opposite of a heat mirage though. Here, you can see that the mountain looks to be up-side down and mushroom shaped. In the winter in the far north, the temperatures can get real low! This was the coldest temperature during the winter of '03-'04. The extreme cold allowed me to have a little fun and also caused a few problems. On the morning that the temperature reached -54F, i decided to get up early and go into town to get a picture of a sign so all my friends would beleave me when i told them how cold it had been, when i started to move in the car, however, i noticed that the tired felt wierd as i drove. When the air in the tires is supercooled, he presure drops and the tires arreap to deflate, causing the bottoms to become flattened against the ground.

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