Gletschergarten Luzern · Denkmalstrasse 4 · CH-6006 Luzern · Tel. 041 410 43 40 · info nospam@nospam.nospam

Special exhibitions - Iceflowers

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Special exhibition:
Starting from 26 November 2010
until October 16th, 2011

Creations of Frost: Hidden World of Wonders in a Winterly Microcosm

Who hasn`t admired the fantastic flower-like ice formations that form on cold nights on window panes and mirrors? But alongside the well known window frost, there are other ice crystal creations, which are flower-like too but form elsewhere, eg in the air or on the forest floor. In the first part of our exhibition, the section "air", you will find pictures of snow crystals and a slide show about hoarfrost crystals. In the "forest" section, you will discover less known phenomena such as hair, ribbon and needle ice, which may form on the forest floor or in winter gardens. Finally, the "log cabin" section has a display on classic window frost.

We hope you will enjoy discovering the mysterious world of ice crystals!

Air Section

Apart from the movements of the planets, Johannes Kepler was also interested in the microcosm. In 1611 he published some work in which the hexagonal pattern of the snow crystal is described. Today we know that physical laws and the structure of the water molecules are responsible for the fact that the angles in the ice crystals are always 60 or 120 degrees. But the well-known image of the snow asterisk is more of an exception than the rule. The crystals in freshly fallen snow quickly transform into new forms that can be investigated using computer tomography. Hoarfrost is another phenomenon created out of the air. It is created from small water droplets suspended in cold moist air that freeze on supercooled surfaces such as branches, spider webs, road signs or even on snow. The variety and beauty of hoarfrost is astounding. Discover for yourself and enjoy our slide show.

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Forest Section

On display are rare forms of ice crystals that can be found on forest floors and parks and gardens. Very specific conditions are required for their formation, and they usually disappear as fast as they developed: hair ice, needle ice and ice ribbons are some of the names of these little known phenomena. The systematic observation and study of hair ice only occurred in recent years. It is thanks to the work of Gerhard Wagner (1919) that the Glacier Garden has been successful in artificially creating hair ice and documenting this process photographically. In our short film you can discover the mysterious process of the creation of hair ice and learn more about Gerhart Wagner and his "mushroom hypothesis".

Log Cabin Section

Window frost forms when a pane of glass is exposed to below-freezing temperatures on the outside and moist air on the inside.  Ice crystals form either from water droplets suspended in air below the dew point that freeze on the window or by water vapor directly crystallising on the inside surface of a window. Window frost, which often makes elaborate patterns, was more common in the past, when houses still had single-pane windows.  With the newer double- or triple-pane windows it has become a rare occurrence.

Also see the gallery of the exposition-start, November 25th, 2010

Flyer Eisblumen, PDF