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"PLANELINER" AND THE FROZEN CONES

The name "Planeliner" refers to the specific geometric progression therein.  A series of profiled plates are placed concentrically on top of each other.  The plate above the previous is smaller in diameter by a constant percentage, the thickness of the plates remain constant throughout. In side-elevation an exponential curve is generated.

Due to a percentage reduction in the diameter of the next level's plate (set at -10 percent, therefore always leaving 90 percent at each level), the system is infinite.  On viewing this sculpture one is experiencing a small section of an endless progression.  The event stretches forever towards a plane at the base; and a line at its apex, although theoretically never reaching either.



"Planeliner", in profile the frozen cone look-a-like


The origin of this work goes way back to the frozen winter of 1986.  Whilst walking besides a frozen creek I was surprised to see several strange formations erupting from the extensive ice sheet before me.  I saw beautifully symmetrical concaved ice cones ranging from approximately 0.3 to 1.0 metres in diameter and up to 20 cm tall; this was a mysterious and fascinating scene to be sure.

Over the intervening years I have made several enquiries concerning the origin of these formations, but still no scientific explanation has come to light... Well, in trying to understand this phenomenon I have formulated my own supposition, which in turn has led to the creation of the "Planeliner" sculpture.

The drowned floor of this creek (mud bank, full of rotting vegetation) is also a massive reservoir of methane, and at times gas will escape from the mud.  As an ex-angler I know this may happen from a single location, and in a way where single methane bubbles are liberated quite regularly, and of an even size; eventually breaking at the waters surface.  Now, if simultaneous to this event an ice sheet begins to form on the surface of the water, then the circular ripples emanating from the "bubble break point" will disrupt any ice crystal formation in the area where wave energy levels are high enough.

There will be a circular boundary where consolidated ice sheet and diminishing waves meet.  It is here that the flat ice sheet will be lapped by tiny waves allowing a new wafer thin sheet of ice to form very slightly above the original ice level.  This activity will add height, and as the ambient temperature decreases will gradually creep towards the epicentre of the wave energy.

The most formative elements of this event may not necessarily depend upon the accurate frequency of waves.  More important maybe is the relationship between the "Bubble break point" (where wave amplitude/energy is highest), and the proximity of the frozen boundary (where frozen water laps over newly formed ice).

It seems logical that as the ice sheet advances towards the "Bubble break point" the unfrozen water lapping onto the ice sheet will, with its increasing amplitude/energy have a greater influence; exponentially adding height to the ice the closer it gets.  For me this exponential accent in the profile of the frozen cones is beautiful evidence of an interplay between energy levels; as the energy level of the ambient temperature drops, there is a proportional increase in wave energy as the "hole" in the surrounding ice sheet shrinks.

Whilst writing this possible explanation I do recall that each of these frozen cones did in fact have a pocket of trapped gas under its apex.  This I imagine finally froze over as cause and effect became more and more localized.

If anyone reading this has photographs or information concerning these formations, I would like to hear from you.
 
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