Thousands of egg-shaped balls of ice have covered a ‘miles-long stretch’ on Finland beach. It is a rare weather phenomenon caused when waves near the shore break up layers of ice.
Risto Mattila captures these beautiful rare photos of egg-shaped balls of ice on Hailuoto Island in the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden.
Weather Experts say the balls of Ice are caused by a rare process in which small pieces of ice are rolled over by seawater and wind. the conditions needed to be cold and a bit windy for the ice balls to form.
Mr Mattila, from the nearby city of Oulu, told the BBC he had never seen anything like it before.
“I was with my wife at Marjaniemi beach. The weather was sunny, about -1C (32F) and it was quite a windy day,” he told the BBC.
“There we found this amazing phenomenon. There was snow and ice eggs along the beach near the water line.”
Mr Mattila said “the balls of ice covered an area of about 30m (100ft). The smallest were the size of eggs and the biggest were the size of footballs”.
“That was an amazing view. I have never seen anything like this during 25 years living in the vicinity,” Mr Mattila said.
“Since I had a camera with me I decided to preserve this unusual sight for posterity.”
“The general picture is that they form from pieces of larger ice sheet which then get jostled around by waves, making them rounder,” he said.
“They can grow when seawater freezes on to their surfaces and this also helps to make them smoother. So the result is a ball of smooth ice which can then get deposited on to a beach, either blown there or getting left there when the tide goes out.”
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‘Ice eggs’ cover Finland beach – Photograph
Rare Eggs like Ice Ball Video
Similar sights have been reported before, including in Russia and on Lake Michigan near Chicago.
In 2016 residents of Nyda in Siberia found giant balls of ice and snow covering an 18km (11-mile) stretch of coastline.
They ranged from the size of a tennis ball to almost 1m (3ft) across.
The ice formations vary in size, from pieces you could hold in your palm to ice balls which appear to be the width of nearby beach rocks
“It was an amazing view,” he told the Guardian. “I have never seen this phenomenon before.”