May 5, 2014 | 1
In our February issue, Scientific American had an article on the phenomenon of liquid-rope coiling—the way that viscous fluids curl as they fall onto a surface, forming what looks like a miniature basket. Dribbling honey onto toast is a classic example (not to mention a great way to liven up your breakfast with physics experiments). Now reader Brian Parker of Dartmouth, England, sends us these remarkable photographs of ice spirals, which appear to be a related phenomenon. The spirals emanate from holes near the top of hollow tube stanchions on a metal staircase at a sports field.