These fluffy discs might look like pancakes, but don’t get the syrup out just yet. A flotilla of mysterious pancake-like discs was recently spotted drifting down the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. However instead of being made of flour and milk, they’re actually made from frozen ice and foam.
River Dee Trust biologist Jamie Urquhart discovered the pieces of pancake ice floating along the river. The discs are occasionally found in Antarctica or the Baltic Sea, but they’re a highly unusual sight in Scotland. River Dee Trust officers believe that pieces of frozen foam were caught in an eddy, where they swirled around until they formed a disc. “Perhaps each disc grew when smaller pieces of unfrozen foam struck the disk, adhered and then froze in place,” Dee Catchment Outreach Officer Joanna Dick said.
Cold temperatures in Aberdeenshire likely account for the formation of the pancakes. Throughout December, temperatures have been below freezing and have averaged around one degree Fahrenheit. “They are a rare occurance,” Dick said, “and conditions have to be right for them to form.”
Photos by River Dee Trust