Ice crystals as frost in River Falls, Wisconsin

Formula: H2O Hexagonal


Ice is a mineral found seasonally in all parts of Wisconsin. It occurs as euhedral skeletal crystals and nodular aggregates up to baseball size precipitating from the atmosphere, accumulating on the ground in beds temporarily as much as several meters thick. It may form solid coatings locally several meters thick on lakes and other bodies of water. Dendritic ice crystals form delicate clusters on many cool surfaces such as windows, windshields, grasses and other vegetation. Stalactitic growths, sometimes of enormous size, may form on overhangs such as rocky ledges as well as along the edge of roofs. Ice seasonally forms interstitial grains and cements in soils and regoliths and along openings in bedrock. Expansion of ice within the regolith lifts up pebbles, cobbles and boulders, exposing them in the spring in fields previously picked clean of such rocks. Expansion of ice can cause considerable damage to human structures such as roof and gutters. Ice also has much recreational value to residents in the winter, which translate to significant economic value to ski resorts and other winter sports facilities. It also has considerable aesthetic value to residents especially those willing to brave winter weather with a keen eye, an inquiring mind and, perhaps, a magnifier.

MONROE COUNTY: Crowns (1976) describes a large permanent icicle found in an access shaft in sandstone in the 3/4 mile long railroad tunnel #3 along the Elroy-Sparta trail, near Summit. The icicle, which varies in size depending on the season, is as much as 3.4 meters (11 feet) in diameter and over 4.5 meters (15 feet) high. It was at times quarried for use in ice cream making during the summer.