Desublimation: When water vapour freezes to ice without becoming liquid in between

One of my favourite phenomena right now is desublimition, or deposition: The phase transition of water vapour to ice that doesn’t go through the liquid phase. It happens when moist air is cooled below the dew point and condensation doesn’t occur spontaneously: When the supercooled water vapour then gets in touch with a cold surface, it turns to ice immediately. And the results are incredibly beautiful!

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These pictures are all from a trip I took with my godson and his family to Möhne Reservoir, the largest artificial lake in western Germany. You can see we were actually on a shore: What a surreal mixture of shells, leaves and frost flowers.

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And we initially just wanted to go over and have a look at the fog that we saw across the Reservoir from where we were throwing stones in the water

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Getting closer, we were almost afraid that we’d encounter dementors there. We could feel it getting a lot colder, and there was frost on the shore and ice on the water… Spooky :-)

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