15 Epic Water and Ice Formations and Phenomena

(Part 2 in a 4-Part Series on Elemental Art Featuring Natural Wonders of the World)

We all know that the Earth’s surface is covered mostly in water and ice, but what is truly astonishing is how many forms this amazing life-giving element can take. From stunning glaciers and roaring waterfalls as high as a skyscraper to jagged mountainside beds of icy spikes as tall as a man, the myriad beautiful water formations and phenomena found on our planet rival the aesthetic power of human art. Here are 15 ice, glaciers, fjords, waterfalls, unusual lakes, and other stunning examples of nature’s finest water and ice art.

Frozen Water: Small-Scale Ice Formations

Whether on a massive scale or smaller than the tip of your finger, from icicles to ice stars, the planet’s many ice formations like its bizarre and amazing land phenomena are truly as varied as snowflakes.

(Images via HaikibaLady Molly, James Carter, unc.edu, Getaway, Birch and Pixdaus)

From the snowflake to the icicle, few things on earth are as gorgeous as frozen formations. Ice ribbons are perhaps one of the most intriguing of ice formations, seemingly resembling frosting squeezed from a baker’s press. Here you see icicles, ribbons, a rare ice star, ice columns and encased grass. The odd picture is certainly a curiosity – how did it form?

(Image via pbase)

Mountain Ice Spikes

(Image via swissflake)

Chile is home to the rugged mountain terrain of the Andes and the severe weather extremes at different altitudes make for some stunning ice formations. The above remarkable ice field looks like daggers, but one brave climber makes his way through the Ojos del Salado.

(Image via travelpod)

This peak in Valle Frances is studded with distinct ice formations that resemble large boulders. Wind and fluctuating temperatures create unusual ice shapes in this famous national park called the Torres del Paine (it’s an eco-tourism hot spot).

Ice Shelves

(Image via IPY)

The photographer caught this fascinating ice formation shot in Huseby, Sweden. Ice takes on all sorts of interesting asymmetrical and geometric shapes, from the icy platelets above to the incredible parallel ice shelves of the Arctic. Ellesmere Island is famous for its ice shelves, but unfortunately they are diminishing rapidly in the face of global warming. Climate change caused alarming losses in summer of 2008, and scientists are concerned that this special ecosystem may soon be lost forever.

Ice Caves

(Images via National Geographic and takrtw)

Hard to believe, but those luscious sculptured waves are completely natural – and on the ceiling. A cave in Bavaria, Germany features this unusual ice. Ice caves are common throughout the world, but some of the largest are the massive, twisting Eisriesenwelt Caves in Austria (shown above right).

Next: Frozen Water: Grand Scale Ice Formations

Then: Moving Water: Rivers, Waterfalls, Fjords

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