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A thin layer of ice spins in a circle on the flowing water of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River near North Bend, Washington.

Watch: Tranquil ice circle spins on half-frozen river

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, January 8, 2017, 6:46 PM - Perfect, or near-perfect circles are hard to come by in nature, but one keen-eyed photographer managed to get a good shot of an ice circle on a walk by the river.

Kaylyn Messer, a photographer based in North Bend, Washington, heard that this elusive phenomenon had been spotted on a nearby river. She went to check it out Saturday, and was rewarded with a fine vantage point of the circle, also known as an ice disk.

"I was elated to see that the circle was still intact and spinning," Messer wrote on her blog. "I spent the afternoon watching the slow rotations and listening to the murmurs of the ice. A few notches of ice were broken from the nearly perfect circle."

Aside from the video above, Messer posted several others on her Vimeo page, like the closer shot below:

Ice circles aren't too common, but they've been known to happen. IFLS says the largest ever spotted was 17 m across, and reported last year that scientists have a new theory about how they can form on water bodies even without eddy currents. According to the website:

At a certain point, as the water gets warmer, it also gets denser (which, conversely, is why ice floats on water). However, when the water melts off the ice disk, it doesn’t simply sink downwards. The researchers found that the water beneath the ice spirals slightly horizontally as it plumes downwards, much like when water drains down a sinkhole and sweeps around in a spiraling rotation.

As for Messer, her video has been featured in several news outlets. Aside from her website and blog, you can glimpse more shots on her Facebook page.

SOURCE: Kaylyn Messer | IFLS

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