We know this doesn’t exactly apply to our niche of the saltwater aquatic world, but it’s just too cool to not share. The video above, which is sped up during most parts, shows the formation of a very interesting frozen feature of the almost alien Antarctic world. This ice formation is called a brinicle, and more aptly referred to as the “Icy Finger of Death”, and is formed by water freezing fairly quickly which also causes it to expel its salt content. The increasing salt concentration in the nearby water lowers the freezing point and cools the water, thereby causing the formation to continue to grow. Looking like a slow motion lightning bolt, the brine icicle travels downward to the ocean floor and freezes anything caught in its path…which is slow moving starfish and sea urchins. From there, it continues onward along the ocean bottom, freezing up anything that can’t move out of the way fast enough.
This video comes to us from the Discovery Channel as part of a promotion for their upcoming Frozen Planet television program.