Brinicle: An underwater icicle with the touch of death

Credits : Flickr / Katexic Clippings Newsletter / BBC

Images of the underwater icicle, called Brinicle are impressive.  A stupefying column of salted water freezing anything in it’s path as it drifts downwards has been given the nickname “The Finger of Death”.  In the video below we see it freeze star fish as they try to escape it’s wrath.  

This natural phenomenon was captured for the the first time on film in 2011 by camera men from the BBC.  They managed to immortalise the “Finger of Death” which has been known about since the 1960 sand studied by the American oceanographer Seelye Martinen in 1974.

A brinicle is described as “a downward growing hollow tube of ice enclosing a plume of descending brine that is formed beneath developing sea ice.”

This type of underwater, ice stalactite forms in the Antarctic Ocean.  The video which you can see below was filmed near to the volcanic Ross Island.

“While exploring around the island, we stumbled across an area where already 3 or 4 binicles had formed and one was in the process.  It was a bit of a race against time as no one really kew how long it would take to form,” said Hugh Miller, one of the two cameramen in 2011.  

When a Brinicle forms it looks like a sort of ice tube plunging towards the depths of the ocean.  Inside this tube runs very cold and salty water. It can reach the seabed if the conditions are right,  but when the depths of the ocean are too deep, the stalactite can break under its own weight.

As it’s nicknamed would suggest, the Brinicle is something you would not like to get too close to as it freezes everything in its path.  As you can see in the video below it freezes marine animals like star fish and other visible sea urchins: 

Sources : Ripleys

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