Sunday, April 19, 2009


These are snow bales formed in a few hours on the prairies of Southern Idaho and photographed by Tim Tevebaugh.

They're about 2 feet high and are a naturally occurring phenomenon requiring the right combination of temperature, humidity, wind speed, snow and flat or slight rolling open ground covered with a smooth layer of ice or crusty snow.

When the air temperature is slightly above freezing, with drifting snow and strong gusty winds of at least 25 mph the the bales begin to form by the wind rolling a bit of snow which clings because it's wet but rolls because the surface is icy.

The wind moves the snow continuously, picking up more snow as it rolls until it becomes too heavy for the wind to move or it comes up against an obstacle. They're very fragile, disintegrating if the temperature varies a degree up or down.


Andrew said...

Wonder if they disintegrate if they hit you?

Caroline said...

Cool. That's brilliant.

Brian Hughes said...

Wooly mammoth tampons.

River said...

Snow bales! That's amazing, I'd never seen or heard of this before. Nature continues to astound me.
Ha Ha Brian.

JahTeh said...

HawtAndrew, only if you're stupid enough to be in the middle of a prairie freezing your boys off.

Caroline, Mother Nature always comes up with something neat.

Thank you for the comment from the Couth Fairy.

River, I'd never heard of them either but then I've only seen snow once in my life. It didn't live up to the hype.

Middle Child said...

Bloody Brian..he's done it again...had a really good comment in my head till i read his and i bloody well forgot what i was going to say

Bwca Brownie said...

Miss Coppy! Miss Coppy!
Feminoz haz told us 'onya bikes an pizoff'.

JahTeh said...

Therese, Fleetwood does have a tendency to suck the brains out of anybody within a 3km radius. Something to do with the head space available between his ears.

Bwca, next blog meet, the pissorfer is barred. Unless she comes bearing Haigh's chocolates, it's the only way to forgiveness.