With a little human intervention, an ice sculpture grows

Is it a work of art, a science demonstration or just cool?

You can see a barely visible spout of water shooting out the top of Peter Delaney's spring-fed ice sculpture.

Click for larger pictures. You can see a barely visible spout of water shooting out the top of Peter Delaney’s spring-fed ice sculpture./photos by Cynthia Prairie

One Popple Dungeon resident has harnessed the power of gravity to raise this blue column near his home this winter. Peter Delaney, who lives two miles from the Grafton Road, said that he had seen this done before and decided to use the pressure of a gravity fed spring line to his barn to set up a vertical spray.

He and his 13 year old son fixed a hose to a stake in the ground and set it to spray upward starting in late fall. At first the results were underwhelming. “The weather didn’t cooperate until about three weeks ago,” Delaney said referring to the recent arctic snap.

Viewed from the other side, the ice is forming interesting shapes at the bottom.

Viewed from the other side, the ice is forming interesting shapes at the bottom.

Since then the column has grown steadily to a height of about 9 feet with a width of about 4 feet. It continues to grow as the constantly running water (coming from underground where it’s well above freezing) makes its own spout from which to escape.

Delaney expects that the column’s thaw in the spring will be gradual with the surrounding soil absorbing the water. But in the event of an unusually warm spring, he has a drain to channel the water away.

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  1. Shawn says:

    I hope I am saying this correctly, but here goes. Water molecules in snow reflect the full spectrum of light and so appear white. Compression of water in the ice absorbs the red end of the spectrum and reflects the blue end. So it appears blue.

  2. Bill Reed says:

    Any theories on the color? Mineral content in the water?

  3. Aula says:

    When I was a kid and lived in Arlington, VT, we often passed by a similar ice structure every winter. It grew at a farm on what is now old US Rte 7 about a mile north of the current Shaftsbury Humane Society. I don’t know what changed, perhaps owners of the property, but the ice structure has not grown in many years. As a kid I always found it fascinating and looked forward to watching it grow and later slowly shrink as spring melted it away. It always took a long time to melt and was often visible well into June.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I stopped by and looked and I think it is taller than 9 feet and wider than 4 feet. Really cool. 🙂

  5. Suellen Slater says:

    Every time I drive by I smile. Thank you.

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