Watch a massive ice disk slowly spin in Maine river

The frozen phenomenon in Westbrook, Maine is about 91 metres wide and does one full rotation every 30 minutes
ice disk Ice can take all sorts of patterns and shapes, but you've probably never seen anything like the ice in this video ... (© Tomas Nevesely -

Ice in winter is generally not that exciting.

Sure, it can be pretty to look at, but freezing temperature will tend to freeze water. It's what winter does.

So when we tell you that you simply must check out this pile of ice floating in the Presumpscot River that runs through the tiny town of Westbrook, Maine ... you'll have to trust us that we're not wasting your time. This formation is quite mind-blowing.

Are you ready to see a giant ice disk?

Westbrook, Maine Ice Disk - Presumpscot River from City of Westbrook, Maine on Vimeo.

What? How?

Did we lie? No, we did not. That thing is awesome, right? (Also, super dramatic soundtrack, too...)

The mysterious ice disk has turned the town into a kind of minor celebrity. Videos of it are going viral, and folks are lining up along the river banks to just stare at the 91-metre (298-foot) wide frozen circle as it gently spins at the rate of one rotation every half hour.

How did this happen? Well, basically this portion of the river widens suddenly, creating what is known as an eddy. In this spot, part of the river breaks away from the main current, spinning in a slow twirl.

When the conditions are just right, the slower-moving water in the eddy can freeze more easily than the rest of the river water. And, when the conditions are still just right—not too cold, not too warm, and relatively consistent—the frozen water can begin to build into an ice disk.

Hitch a ride

No one knows how long the disk is expected to stay together. It was first noticed last Monday, January 14. On Thursday, the disk even got momentarily stuck on/frozen to the shore—until a photographer used an ice pick to free it so it could continue spinning. And as long as it does spin, you can expect it to attract plenty of interest and fascination.

As well as ducks.

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