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Cold snap causes 'reverse icicles' to grow in Illinois limestone mine

Ice does some strange things when conditions are right, like forming 'reverse icicles' growing up from the ground.

LASALLE COUNTY, Ill — Bitterly cold temperatures lasting for several days on end have created some interesting ice formations in Illinois during the month of February. We've seen pancake ice, formed near dams and areas where water remains in motion. Now, we're seeing 'reverse icicles' growing in Illinois limestone mines. 

WQAD News 8 viewer Loren Bird captured these ice stalagmites forming inside a limestone mine in north-central Illinois. 

In this location, the ice grows from the ground up, forming the stalagmites that are somewhat creepy looking, but also quite beautiful.

During the winter, air currents inside the mines push warmer air up to the ceiling, where water droplets form and drop to the floor below, freezing instantly. The very cold air flows into the entrance of the mine area and freezes the floor. Over time, these ice stalagmites appear and grow taller and taller, creating these beautiful monuments drop by drop. 

Credit: Loren Bird
Ice Stalagmites grow inside a limestone mine in Illinois.

As you can see, each icicle takes on a unique shape of its own, varying in height and width. 

These ice formations will likely dissipate in the next several days as warmer temperatures move back into the Midwest. 

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