Massive, Spinning Ice Whirlpool Mysteriously Appears in Maine River

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 - 9:18AM
Weird Science
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 - 9:18AM
Massive, Spinning Ice Whirlpool Mysteriously Appears in Maine River
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Image source: Screenshot - City of Westbrook, Maine/YouTube
There are plenty of things you might expect to see in a New England river: ducks, geese, exhausted Ivy League rowers... all perfectly natural sights, though many of the former are likely to have headed for slightly warmer climes during the winter months. What you do NOT expect to see is a giant frozen whirlpool ominously rotating like some kind of semi-aquatic landing pad awaiting the arrival of cold-blooded extraterrestrial overlords, but that's what one New England town is watching this January. A gigantic, spinning ice disk appeared on the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine on Monday, captivating the attention of both local residents and weird-weather phenomenologists. 

According to Science Alert, disks of this kind – formed when vortexes or whirlpools freeze – are a relatively rare phenomenon, but the one spinning on the Presumpscot stands out because of its especially large size. In an interview with the New York Times, California Institute of Technology physics professor Kenneth G. Libbrecht noted that most of the ice disks he had seen ranged from about 20 to 30 feet in diameter. The Portland Press-Herald reported that the disk is approximately 100 yards – 300 feet – across. "It might be a world-record size," Dr. Libbrecht remarked to The Times, "if anybody were keeping track." 

Regardless of whether or not anyone is keeping track of the Presumpscot ice disk's potential for breaking records or heralding an extraterrestrial invasion, it is currently attracting various creatures to its surface. Rob Mitchell, a business owner who reported the ice disk to the city of Westbrook early this week, described some decidedly-non-alien lifeforms setting up camp. "There were ducks sitting on it," Mitchell told the Press-Herald. "The ducks were rotating on this big Lazy Susan. It was a big duck-go-round."

Indeed, The Press-Herald reports that the disk has become a popular topic of conversation among Westbrook residents, rivaling even the reported sighting of a giant snake – later named "Wessie," but never caught – eating a beaver on the banks of the Presumpscot in 2016.

We'll stick to ducks and alien theories, thank you. 

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