Nature’s beauty rarely fails to astound– and sometimes, it gives us something so stunning, it almost doesn’t look real. That’s exactly what happened in 2015 when photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh took pictures of one such phenomenon, these nearly frozen slurpee waves. Nmerfroh, however, had a case of lightning striking twice, as he managed to recapture them in 2018. Here is a reminder of how awesome nature can be.
The Slurpee Waves Of Nantucket
In 2015, Nimerfroh was strolling along the beach when he saw them for the first time. He was very fortunate to witness it first-hand. This happened during February of the year when the eastern US had been hit by a severe cold wave. On February 20th, he arrived at the beach to notice, what he calls “Slurpee waves.” Here are some of the original pictures:
Then in 2018, he witnessed the infamous slurpee waves again. This time the east coast of the US was experiencing a “bomb cyclone”. As a result, the winter weather was rather strong. These events can see strong winds an snowy blizzards. The perfect conditions to see them once more. According to Live Science, Johnatah mentioned that temperatures were almost always under 10 during the week. Which meant that the possibility of seeing the slurpee waves was higher. So he went to Nobadeer Beach in the morning, and lo and behold, there they were.
These conditions resulted in waves that looked like they were frozen mid-break. Jonathan, who is also an avid surfer, says that it is also possible to surf these waves. Apparently, he informed Live Science, that the waves are actually in motion.
The temperature of the ocean water was 12 degrees F (or -11 degrees C). This is less than salt water’s freezing temperature which is 28.4 degrees F (or -2 degrees C). Nimerfroh explains that such slurpee waves are fairly uncommon occurrences. The phenomenon also does not last for too long.
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How Are These Formed?
According to Carin Ashijan, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the low temperatures result in several ice layers being deposited on the ground. This makes a solid rind. Moreover, it can also cause the water’s topmost later across several yards to approach the freezing point. 
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When this surface layer loses heat, there is no more heat coming from the water underneath it. As a result, the topmost layer freezes. The action of the waves prevents very big chunks of ice from forming. At most, the ice is as big as corn kernels.
The ice collectively makes the waves appear as if they are frozen. But that is only on the surface. Underneath, the water still moves.