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Mysterious “hair ice” is formed by fungus (2015) (bbc.co.uk)
36 points by camtarn 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments





In a previous career I was a surveyor who spent lots of time in the forests of British Columbia. One day I encountered hair ice but didn't realize what it was; I thought it was just awesome looking ice. So I licked it. Immediately I realized from the taste and texture that it was not ice but some sort of weird forest growth and I gagged. There were no side effects but it tasted awful!

You licked a polar bear?

Might have been a snow horse: https://youtu.be/O3rpmctmC_M

This article is incredibly light on details. This either needs a better link or it's not really HN worthy.

I first encountered these last year walking through the woods around Austin. There was no snow so they were very visible amid the brown backdrop and exquisitely beautiful. They all formed around the base of a particular type of pithy stalk plant, just like as shown in the video.

The ice is very delicate and the merest touch can detach it. By 10am it was all melted.



I wonder if/how the fungus is somehow gaining an adaptive advantage from this. Would this assist in spore distribution? Prevent excess heat loss?

It's quite possible that this is just a spectacular side effect of proteins the fungus produces to prevent ice crystals forming within its cells.

Timely! Just saw some of this in a nearby BC forest a few days ago.

https seems to be redirecting to http. At least on mobile.

Yup, on desktop too, even with HTTPS Everywhere on Firefox.



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