March 3, 2021

‘Crop circles’ frozen on Alabama creek have meteorologists, social media baffled

Was it aliens or some rare feat of mother nature?

Mysterious swirls found on a frozen Alabama creek have meteorologists across the country debate how the hypnotic swirls came to be.

Images of the ice formations have been posted multiple times on social media since they were discovered on Feb. 18 on top of Anderson Creek, near the Tennessee River in north Alabama.

But how they came to be, no one can agree.

Many people likened the swirls to some type of frozen crop circle that you might see from an airplane.

Some suggested the circles were man-made while others joked that aliens might have been involved.

WAAY 31 chief meteorologist Kate McKenna offered this theory on her broadcast:

“I believe that near the shoreline the water is a little more shallow so it’s freezing more easily. It’s able to cool down quickly. And then the wind blows that thin sheet of ice out into the water, out into the middle the creek. And then the water near the shoreline again starts to refreeze and the wind blowing that ice out into the lake causes each layer here, each ring to form, kind of like wrings in a tree trunk.”

Alabama meteorologist James Spann, of ABC 33/40, offered a slightly different explanation in a Facebook post.

“This pattern occurs when moving water forces the forming ice to slowly rotate,” Spann wrote. “Shear is involved … When on one side of the creek you have water that’s moving faster than on the other side causing the ice to form in swirls.”

Not everyone was convinced, however.