Giant spinning disk of ice appears alien (video)

The disk extends up to 100 metres

Its appearance has been likened to a moon, an alien creation, a crop circle and a giant Lazy Susan; regardless, a sprawling disk of ice spinning in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine, has people talking.

According to news reports, the disk extends up to 330 feet (100 meters) across and is spinning in a counterclockwise direction. (Ducks seen taking a spin spurred the analogy to a duck-go-round.)

A drone video shows the gorgeous ice formation in all its glory, slowly rotating in what looks to be a slight bend in the river, with small eddies rolling by in the narrow passage not crowded out by the disk.

Though not unheard of, the wintry treat is “unusual,” said Ted Scambos, senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

“I think you can see how it is formed — that side of the river has a large eddy in the water current that traps the ice,” Scambos told Live Science. “Because of the rotation, and probably occasional bumping into the shoreline — and the fact that the ice is freezing into a solid plate, the ice that gathered in the eddy was trapped and worked into a giant disk.”

As for why the huge pancake of ice appears so perfectly circular, Scambos said that has to do with the size of the ice inside.


Westbrook, Maine Ice Disk – Presumpscot River from City of Westbrook, Maine on Vimeo.