Nature

A 45 ft ‘ice volcano’ has emerged in Kazakhstan. Here’s how it works

Meteorological conditions lined up in Kazakhstan this winter, resulting in a 45-foot (13.7-metre) tall ice tower forming from spring water gushing out of an icy plain.

The tower appeared in the Almaty region, where freezing temperatures near mean the plains spend winter covered in a thick layer of ice and snow. 

The resulting hollow cone of ice has in the past been referred to by some scientists as an “ice volcano.” Although the shape is similar, they are a separate phenomenon from the rock volcanoes that spew lava from under the Earth’s crust.

In this case, the ice comes from a hot spring. The water sprays up into the atmosphere, and freezes as it falls back down to the surface. Over time, an the impressive hollow structure is formed.

The tower of ice forms every year around the new year and is a travel destination for locals.

Here are several recent Instagram photos showing the attraction tagged in Kegen, a small town nearby.

A video published in early February by Ruptly, an agency connected the Kremlin-linked broadcaster RT, shows crowds of people near the cone:

Kazakhstan is know to many only through the “Borat” film franchise. However, the reality of life in Kazakhstan is quite different.

When a sequel to the original “Borat” was released in 2020, the Kazakh board of tourism embraced the character’s catch phrase, “very nice”, making it its new tourism slogan.

Similar cones can be seen in the US, often seen on the Great Lakes such as Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. There, water from the lake pushes under the ice sheet at the border of the lake, creating mounds of ice. 

But it’s in space that ice volcanoes are the most impressive. In 2016, scientists observed what they thought could be an enormous ice volcano on Pluto, ranging 90 miles wide and 2.15 miles high.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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