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Rare Rotating Ice Disc Shows Up Again, This Time in China

Could these frozen rotating discs be nature's fidget spinners? One of them showed up in a river in Maine, US, earlier in September.


Updated:November 15, 2019, 1:17 PM IST
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Rare Rotating Ice Disc Shows Up Again, This Time in China
A rare sight | Image credit: Twitter/ @1984to1776

In an unusual phenomenon, a spinning disc of ice was seen in China recently on the bank of the Root River that flows through Genhe City in the country's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The region is known locally known as 'China's cold pole'.

The rotating disc was about 2 meters in diameter and formed naturally. A video of the same was shared on YouTube by the state-owned Chines media channel CGTN. spinning gently amid a frozen, white landscape, the ring disc looks pristine and remote.

Rotating discs are formed when freezing water flows in a vortex-like motion, creating a rotating ice disc. A 1997 paper on 'large rotating ice discs on ice-covered rivers', proposed a theory of how these disks are formed - the river creates a whirlpool effect around a chunk of ice, slowly eroding it until its edges become perfectly smooth and circular.

Check out yet another video of the ice disc in Genhe that showed up on Twitter.

Such a disc, though unusual, is not entirely unheard of. The first known record of a rotating ice disc is from a 1995 illustration published in the Scientific American depicting a spinning ice cake on the Mianus river in the US. In fact, one of them recently showed in September in the Presumpscot River in Maine, thrilling onlookers and even attracting tourists.

A frozen disk also showed up in the Liao river in China's Liaoning Provinc and could be seen spinning. In fact, because it was more solid than the usual discs, people also ventured stepping on it.

Could these frozen rotating discs be nature's fidget spinners?

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