South Pole Snow Puff Ball

Update: Mystery solved!

Today I noticed a large number of little snow puff balls outside. First I couldn’t figure out where they came from. After a while I did notice many of them just being blown across the ground like tumbleweed. It seems, that in calm conditions a light snow fuzz builds up on the surface. If this is followed by just the right amount of wind (currently around 10 knots) it just takes a small seed to start a puff ball, which will grow as it rolls across the Antarctic plateau.

The puff balls will gather in small depressions.
A small gathering of snow puff balls

In the seven second video you can see the little puff ball tumbleweeding across the ground until it hits an obstruction and breaks up.

They just kept coming. I took a picture of a field of puff balls right in front of the Geographic South Pole later in the day.
A field of snow puff balls stretching all the way to the Geographic South Pole

[tags]Antarctica, South Pole, Puff Balls[/tags]

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2 Responses to “South Pole Snow Puff Ball”

  1. JD
    March 15th, 2008 20:21

    this is just entirely too cool. I had put off getting a contract there a few years agoo..but damn its hot here. And I woke up to a dream of having processed thru NZ….man, I envy you right about now.

  2. South Pole Snow Puff Balls Are Yukimarimos | Adventure Antarctica
    March 19th, 2008 23:36

    […] people have noticed the snow puff balls, mentioned in a post on March 15, too. Locally some people have called them cotton balls, weird snow and the starting alien […]