Hair ice: The strange phenomenon of ‘candy floss’ on treeson January 4, 2021 at 1:35 pm

Ice hair in Castle

If you go down to the woods today for a winter walk, you could be in for a big surprise.

People taking a stroll through the trees in counties Fermanagh and Tyrone have been encountering an unusual sight.

At first glance, it looks like candy floss has appeared on tree branches.

Kenny Allen captured ice hair on the ground during a walk in Cranny

image copyrightKenny Allen

On closer inspection, you can see hundreds of individual strands of what looks like delicate white hair.

As soon as these are touched by human hand or winter sun, they melt away.

This strange phenomenon is called hair ice.

Ice hair pictured in Castle Archdale County Fermanagh at the weekend

The crystals are formed on rotting wood on humid winter nights when the temperature is just below zero.

Scientists have discovered it is caused by a fungus which enables the ice to form thin hairs with a diameter of about 0.01mm.

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Hair ice – also known as frost flowers – has been spotted in County Fermanagh in Castle Archdale, Florence Court, Castle Coole, Cladagh Glen and Big Dog Forest.

Janusz Kumor and Nadia Smith pictured beside hair ice at Old Castle Archdale in Fermanagh

In County Tyrone, it has been pictured in Omagh and Knockmany, near Augher.

So if you’re heading out for some daily exercise, see if you can spot this rare phenomenon before it melts away.

The unusual phenomenon has been spotted in a number of sights in Omagh

image copyrightKenny Allen

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