Nature’s ‘icy finger of death’ caught on tape for first time

Posted: 03/05/2012 in all marine news

Fox News –

Filmed for the first time, the icy “finger of death” is an unprecedented look at nature’s beauty — seen at its devastating worst.

Called a brinicle (or brine icicle), cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson used a time-lapse camera to capture this awe-inspiring event beneath the Antarctic ice shelf for the upcoming Discovery Channel special series, Frozen Planet.

“We were just blown away by how beautiful they were,” producer Kathryn Jeffs told Fox News.

Jeffs was in Antarctica with Miller and Anderson to capture the unique event.

“We were exceptionally excited and we knew we had something that had never been filmed before, never been seen before. No one has really seen the formation of a brinicle.”

This magnificent yet terrifying phenomenon is caused by brine, or naturally occurring salt water, which tends to be denser than the surrounding seawater and has a lower freezing point.

When super cold brine trickles down, the warmer seawater surrounds the cyclone with a brittle layer of ice.

But capturing the event on tape was no easy feat, as the crew battled brutal conditions, technical challenges, and even seal attacks.

“Because there have been so few studies on the brinicles, it’s really, really difficult to tell when and exactly how they are going to form,” Jeffs explained to Fox News.

“They do have a tendency to form when the ice is being disrupted, or in extremely cold conditions — which disrupt the inner channels and sets in motion the flow of brine.”

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