Thousands of Perfect Snowballs Turn Up on Arctic Beach

And they're all natural
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2016 6:00 PM CST

(Newser) – It looks for all the world like an epic winter battle is in the making, but it turns out that thousands of perfectly shaped snowballs that showed up on a beach in Siberia are the result of a natural phenomenon. The strange sight emerged on the shore of the Gulf of Ob, just north of the Arctic Circle, reports the Siberian Times. Villagers from nearby Nyda discovered that about 11 miles of beach had been covered in the icy orbs, some the size of tennis balls and others about 3 feet across, reports Live Science. "It's as if someone spilled them," says one villager. "Many people believed it only when saw with they own eyes." And while the spheres look man-made, scientists say the phenomenon is just a fluke of nature.

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"As a rule, first there is a primary natural phenomenon—sludge ice, slob ice," explains an official at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, per the BBC. "Then comes a combination of the effects of the wind, the lay of the coastline, and the temperature and wind conditions." And voila: nature's snowballs. Residents near Lake Michigan should be able to relate. A similar phenomenon has been known to occur there, and Live Science shares this image as proof. (Another strange emergence in Siberia: thawed-out anthrax.)

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