A bizarre underwater phenomenon in Antarctica has been caught on camera. However, be warned, the stunning phenomenon hides a deadly secret. With time-lapse cameras, Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson, for the first time, were able to time record the rare natural event dubbed the “Ice Finger of Death.”
The twisting column of ice drives down to the sea floor, where starfish and sea life are scattered. As the twisting ice spiral appears, it is incredibly dangerous, it freezes and kills everything around it once it touches the sea floor, hence the name “Ice Finger of Death.”
The icy phenomenon is caused by cold, sinking brine, which is denser than the rest of the sea water. It forms a brinicle as it contacts warmer water below the surface creating a finger-like formation that grows underneath sea ice.
Where the brinicle “Ice Finger of Death” meets the sea bed, a web of ice forms and freezers everything it touches, including sea urchins and starfish. While scientists are already aware of the phenomenon, it has rarely been observed in real time.
It only occurs in specific conditions in the Polar Regions of Earth under blocks of floating sea ice. Hugh Miller set up the time-lapse equipment in the hope of capturing a growing brinicle under the ice at Little Razorback Island, near Antarctica’s Ross Archipelago, telling BBC Nature:
“When we were exploring around that island, we came across an area where there had been three or four [brinicles] previously, and there was one actually happening.”
Miller recalled that he had taken note of the temperature so he could return to the area as soon as the same conditions presented themselves. He added:
“It was a bit of a race against time because no one really knew how fast they formed.
“The one we’d seen a week before was getting longer in front of our eyes… the whole thing only took five, six hours.”
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