You Know What They Say About Yellow Snow…

Okay so Matt was cycling along the Thames Path – you know – the bit just past Greenwich Yacht Club, going into Charlton, just before you get to that aggregates dock, just around the corner, when he came across some very odd, ‘huge, thick, slightly yellowy’ icicles on the bushes.

As you’ll see from the first pic, it’s only these bushes that are affected. “It was freezing cold, but not wet,” Matt says, “so all neighbouring bushes and trees were completely ice-free. Whereas these ones are not only covered in icicles, but really thick, blobby, bulbous, slightly alien-looking icicles.”

Matt – and I – would like to know what caused this phenomenon. “Also,” he adds, “if they’re not made of frozen rainwater, which would be the implication, then what are they made of? And should we be scared?”

I guess the yellow coud be all the salts and the sand that has been coming in on various ships for donkey’s years, and perhaps the wind has chilled that particular stretch more than others but in truth I don’t know. So, all you geologers out there, what gives?

In the meanwhile, you know what they say about yellow snow…

PS Word to the wise – in warmer times of the year, this little stretch of path can be quite slidey under the tyres because of all the loose sand. At the moment, I suspect said sand is actually helping….

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12 Comments to “You Know What They Say About Yellow Snow…”

  1. JOF says:

    In the wider view photo, it looks like there are also icicles on the fence wires behind the shrub. Perhaps there was some activity on the industrial site which incidentally sprayed water over the fence onto these bushes. Either way it is an interesting looking effect.

  2. Benedict says:

    The same phenomenom happens here (Toronto) on trees and shrubs by the lake. Water vapour is blown from the lake and lands on the plants where it freezes, I’m guessing that water from the Thames is being blown on to the plants by the path. But why its yellow? Youve got me there.
    See the Canadian version;

  3. Mike M says:

    I’ve often seen them spraying water on the gravel mounds to keep dust levels down during dry weather. Perhaps, because it’s been so dry recently, they were spraying the aggregates, and some water went over the fence onto the bushes? Just a guess.

  4. I’m not so sure, Benedict, because in that case shouldn’t there be icicles on all the plants (and railings, fences etc.) by the water, rather than just those on this one short stretch? Also, these bushes are where the path turns through 90 degrees to run down the side of a small dock/inlet, so any wind hitting them wouldn’t have blown across the mass of the river…

    Just to confirm JOF’s guess, though – yes, there were icicles hanging from the fence wires too, and on the fence by the path immediately in front of the bushes – but not from any other bit of fence!

  5. Benedict says:

    In that case Matt (BotT) its either Aliens or Magic…..

  6. Alain de Valois says:

    I think you’ll find there’s a yard the other side of the fence where they clean out concrete mixers with high pressure hoses. Water spray + sand + freezing temperatures = spooky icicles.

  7. Franklin says:

    Shame on you, CB. Your ad hominem attacks on other commenters are unacceptable and tiresome. If you don’t have anything interesting or substantive to say, keep your trap shut.


  8. Capability Bowes says:

    I reserve my right as a citizen of a free country to disagree publicly with other opinions held. If the Phantom doesn’t agree, then the Phantom, as the owner of this blog, is perfectly within their rights to delete any comments left by me which they deem to be offensive.

  9. Yeah – okay, chaps, let’s give this a rest, eh. No ad hominen attacks or off-topic-ness, please…

  10. Benedict says:

    I want to talk about Curly Wurlys’…..what?

  11. Chris says:

    How can such lovely photos cause a spat??!! Such is the scichizophrenic nature of the web!

    Matt – Thanks for the pix, and to Benedict for the Canadian version.

    PS – Can you still buy Curly-Wurlies??

  12. Chris says:

    Sorry, didn’t spullchuck…..