Beware of the Big Brinicle of Death

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.

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  • LB says:

    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!

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