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Frozen Bubbles by Wesley Tang

Honorable - Natural Category

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School: Western Canada High School

Teacher: David Karbashewski

Within this picture, there is a unique phenomena where methane gas bubbles are seen frozen on their way up the to the surface of Abraham Lake. Bacteria that decompose organic matter at the bottom of the lake release methane. Since the exposed surface of the lake is colder than the bottom, the lake freezes from the top downward. As a result of water having a high specific heat capacity and therefore requiring more energy to change temperature, this freezing is slow, especially over such a large mass of water. This allows the methane gas that travels up to coalesce into bubbles, which are subsequently encased in the frozen water around them. In addition, the ice around the bubbles has a different refractive index than the methane gas and air, so light refracts around it, causing dispersion of light as seen with the colours around some of the bubbles.

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