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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Accented Ripples on Surface of Snow

Wind creates ripples on snow as wind and water do on sand. Ordinarily unobtrusive, these ripples are easier to see in a photograph after applying the Photoshop filter called “Dark Strokes,” accenting the lines as if with coal dust. 


  1. I thought at first it was rock...interesting how this happens to snow but we rarely notice.

  2. It does look like rock, and there are small Lake Michigan stones that look similar, as portions of sedimented layers are worn away by wind, water and the abrasive action of wind- and water-driven sand particles on the larger stones. Traced lines on snow are ephemeral but created by the same forces. In the American West, there are large landforms showing these same effects, so these sand ripples are to me another example of "miniature geography."

  3. Apparently it is a misconception that Eskimos
    have many words for snow (but the Laplanders
    have quite a few). How it blows, how it feels
    beneath the feet, crunchy, squeeky, slippery
    used to be important in my day. The early
    sixties, I had a pair of Madshu Norwegian
    XC skis and awaited Minnesota blizzards with
    anticipation. In those days, wax was the key;
    a pinch of snow was observed, rolled between
    the thumb and forefinger...and light green
    wax was rubbed into the burnt pine tar ski
    base. If this worked, great...if not, you were either stuck to the snow or sliding unconrollably. (that's why you carried the
    wineskin) As I recall, windblown ripple snow
    often hid other types beneath.