Ice in nature
This chapter surveys the many forms in which ice occur in nature. Lake and river ice have characteristic polycrystalline structures and these are different from sea ice. In the atmosphere water vapour crystallizes to form snowflakes and leads to rain, hail and thunderstorm electricity. Snow falling on the ground has specific properties and over many years it becomes consolidated into ice. Such ice flows under gravity eventually melting into rivers or the oceans. Cores drilled from ice sheets in Antarctica or Greenland contain information about past climatic conditions, and their study depends heavily on the electrical properties of ice. In cold regions ground becomes frozen to form permafrost. In the Solar System many of the moons of the outer planets are formed from ice, which may exist as some of the high-pressure phases in the interior. The surface features of Europa are particularly intriguing. Finally comets are largely composed of ice.
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