Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Immersion Through Ice/Ice Safety

Dijukno every year unsuspecting outdoor enthusiasts fall through ice and drown, or die from hypothermia?

There are several specific types of ice, and they each have distinctive

  • Frazil ice is the first type of ice to form by the collection of disk-shaped crystals suspended in water, forming a thin, opaque film that floats to the surface.  These crystals combine to form a solid sheet when temperatures drop.
  • Frazil slush is soft collections of frazil crystals that form in moving water where a current prevents a solid freeze.
  • Clear ice is considered the strongest ice, and is formed by a long, hard freeze.  It often reflects the color of the water underneath, so it can be many colors.
  • Snow ice is opaque or milky colored that is formed from the freezing of water soaked snow.  This is a porous, low density ice which is considered weak.
  • Layered ice is formed from several layers of frozen, and refrozen snow.  It has a striped appearance.
  • Candle ice, found in late winter or early spring forms into finger-like structures as it rots or disintegrates.  Candle ice resembles many candles bundled together in appearance.
  • Rotten ice may appear thick, but this old ice that is honeycombed with pockets of air bubbles in advanced stages of disintegration may crumble under the slightest pressure.  Rotten ice looks black as it becomes saturated with water.
Weather, water depth, size of the body of water, and obstructions all affect the strength of ice.  The best safety recommendation for ice is to stay off of it.

To be properly equipped to judge ice dangers and learn rescue techniques is to know how ice is formed, the types of ice, and factors affecting it's strength.  If you choose to chance it with good, clear, and solid ice, use the following rule of thumb:

2 inches -- walking
4 inches -- fishing
5 inches -- snowmobiles

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