22 January 2010

Mysterious depressions in snow

Last December's snow storm gave me a opportunities to go on snowshoeing excursions in the nearby park. The hill I climbed on the day after it snowed had still not been visited by any humans. Long and deep deer tracks were common, though.

There were also many odd-shaped superficial depressions in the snow that I could not identify. For example, these,


And also these,


However, the series of tracks in the next picture had obviously been caused by the small clump of snow visible at the end as it rolled down the slope towards the right, perhaps during a burst of wind.


I suspect all the other depressions had also been caused by pieces of wood, pine cones and other items of vegetable origin being moved around by the wind. However, in many instances, there was nothing nearby that could have caused a particular depression. Can a strong gust of wind remove a chunk of snow from the surface, drop it, pick it up again, thereby creating a depression, and finally, perhaps after repeating this process several times, disperse it without leaving any obvious traces of it?


Psi Wavefunction said...

Shit, you found Big Foot...run away! o_O

Probably just chunks of snow falling off of trees?


Snow falling from trees is a possibility, but I don't know about Bigfoot.

fred schueler said...

the long ones look like snow falling off of overhead utility wires.

Ralph Hartley said...

Branches falling onto powdery snow. The walls of the holes collapse, leaving the sticks buried underneath.

Either that or Bigfoot wearing ice skates.