Seeing Ice Feathers on the Ground

One of the nicer things about living where we are is that there is always something unusual to see. Nature is always presenting us with something interesting—all we have to do is keep our eyes open to see it. That’s what happened the other day. The weather was just perfect for creating ice feathers. Here’s one view of the ice feathers:


If you get close enough, they actually look like little feathers. Another name for ice feathers is rime ice. The name ice feathers is a bit more poetic and also more descriptive of a particular kind of rime ice. The crystals form when moist air, wind, and cold surface temperatures combine to create a kind of artistic statement. This sort of ice feather is somewhat rare—I remember seeing it only a few times in my entire life.

Some people might also call ice features like this hoarfrost, and that would possibly be an appropriate name, except that hoarfrost is the result of dew, where ice feathers form from melted water carried on the wind. There are minor distinctions between hoarfrost, rime ice, ice feathers, and other ice formations—all of which are quite beautiful. When I saw these ice feathers on the ground though, I knew they would be something special. You can see them in a little more detail in this picture.


Nature is always presenting us with something pretty. Whether it’s a sundog, an ice draped tree, or ice feathers, winter does have its own vision of beauty to offer. What is the most beautiful feature of winter that you’ve seen? Let me know at