The Brinicle of Death. It has never been captured on film … until now. And it’s all on display courtesy of the BBC series Frozen Planet.
In a nutshell, a brinicle forms when cold, dense brine comes into contact with warmer water. It all starts on the ocean’s surface, and then the emerging brinicle (otherwise known as an ice stalactite) starts to move downward, forming something of a submerged tornado, until it eventually hits the ocean floor and freezes everything in its path. The video above takes a 5-6 hour event and reduces it to a crisp, kind of hair-raising two minutes. We will be adding this clip to our collection of Great Science Videos.
Its amazing to think that this brine rejection process is one of thee crucial ocean processes. That very salty water continues sinking all the way to the bottom of the deep ocean, and then starts flowing north. If you were to take a sample of water from the very bottom of the equatorial Atlantic or Pacific, it would be this water you see here you hauled up!