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


Author: John

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 99 books and over 600 articles to date. The topics range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current books include a Web security book, discussions of how to manage big data using data science, a Windows command -line reference, and a book that shows how to build your own custom PC. His technical editing skills have helped over more than 67 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. John has provided technical editing services to both Data Based Advisor and Coast Compute magazines. He has also contributed articles to magazines such as Software Quality Connection, DevSource, InformIT, SQL Server Professional, Visual C++ Developer, Hard Core Visual Basic, asp.netPRO, Software Test and Performance, and Visual Basic Developer. Be sure to read John’s blog at When John isn’t working at the computer, you can find him outside in the garden, cutting wood, or generally enjoying nature. John also likes making wine and knitting. When not occupied with anything else, he makes glycerin soap and candles, which comes in handy for gift baskets. You can reach John on the Internet at John is also setting up a website at Feel free to take a look and make suggestions on how he can improve it.