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The Snowman Who Defies Gravity

 
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It's been snowy in my neck of the wood for about a week. On the night of November 29th, my kids said, 'Can we go play in the snow for a bit?" It was bedtime, but how can I resist snow time?

Well, they did more than play for a little bit. They rolled a bunch of giant balls to make a snowman, all by themselves. By morning, he was covered in more inches of snow:

snowman covered with snow
According to my kids, he has two abdomen!


Like man snowmen, he started to lean. On December 3rd, I told my kids, "I'm sorry, guys, he's probably going to fall soon"

leaning snowman


But, the snowman had other ideas! Defying gravity seems to be his goal.

Snowman defying gravity
The night of December 3rd.


And defy gravity he will! By the morning of December 4th, he as leaning even more. Ever living, never falling.

snowman leaning but not crumbling
Always leaning, never falling


Here he is this morning. He's beginning to grow an icicle for a nose. And he has not fallen!

snowman leaning just inches from the ground
His theme song is apparently, 'I will survive!'


This snowman boggles my mind. He's still leaning out there.
 
Nicole Alderman
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He's still alive! My husband snapped this picture just a few minutes ago:

The indominable snowman
 
Nicole Alderman
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It started drizzling last night, and I was so worried that he'd have fallen by morning, so I ran out and took a picture.



But, apparently neither rain nor snow nor sleet can topple the Indominable Snowman!

 
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In your second picture - where he's first shown "leaning" - I thought you'd put the step ladder there for his head to rest on, before realizing it was just an artifact and the ladder was well behind Mr. Snowman.

This is pretty amazing.  If he falls, I wonder if dissecting him will show a core of ice? But I would only check that if the builders were willing - he must be part of the family by now!
 
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If I was you, I'd set those kids on building you a house next!
 
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Jordan Holland wrote:If I was you, I'd set those kids on building you a house next!



In the meantime, you can enter them into every physics contest that's available.  What other laws of nature have they found that they can bend?
 
Nicole Alderman
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Jay Angler wrote:In your second picture - where he's first shown "leaning" - I thought you'd put the step ladder there for his head to rest on, before realizing it was just an artifact and the ladder was well behind Mr. Snowman.



Yeah, the ladder is behind the house. My husband used it to try and get the snow off the satellite dish so we would have internet again :D

He's now  but a few inches from the ground, but still holding steady!

20221206_140106.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20221206_140106.jpg]
 
Nicole Alderman
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Mr. Snowman has apparently lost his head over all the excitement he's caused. But, according to my kids, "That's okay, because he had two heads!"

20221206_154130.jpg
Poor snowman has lost his head--but the rest of him is fine!
Poor snowman has lost his head--but the rest of him is fine!
 
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HA! The laws of physics are easily broken by a toddler. As well as other aspects such as staying awake long enough to out last any 3 adults. Don't close the bathroom door or by the time you come out the fire dept will be there. So cool you let them play in the snow, and celebrated it with them!
 
Nicole Alderman
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The kids and I just ran out to check on him. He's almost reclaimed his head!

 
Jordan Holland
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Hey, it's snowman yoga!

What's this position called?
 
Nicole Alderman
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What a great laugh I had. thank you Nicole! What a wit what a mom what a great human you are.  Like the snowman I bow to you in gratitude!
 
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This is great! I think I know what's going on here. A while back, I read a geoscience paper about those stone arches that form out of sandstone in the american southwest, and what the mechanism is behind them. Basically what happens is that the wind scours certain areas of vertical faces of stone, and as they wear away, the stone crystals directly above the worn areas are put under stress and begin to compact. This compaction actually makes them harder and more resilient to wear. Over time, the center is hollowed out below that initial compaction point and a natural arch forms.

I suspect something similar has happened here. The snowman started to slowly lean over, which put the snow crystals on the downward side under compaction, probably at just the right moment in the freeze/thaw cycle. So when it hardened up overnight, a strong arch of ice was formed. And the base is not only heavy but frozen to the ground to a sufficient degree to hold the whole thing more or less in place.

All in all, it's really cool! Thanks for sharing.

-Daniel
 
Nicole Alderman
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Daniel Ackerman wrote:This is great! I think I know what's going on here. A while back, I read a geoscience paper about those stone arches that form out of sandstone in the american southwest, and what the mechanism is behind them. Basically what happens is that the wind scours certain areas of vertical faces of stone, and as they wear away, the stone crystals directly above the worn areas are put under stress and begin to compact. This compaction actually makes them harder and more resilient to wear. Over time, the center is hollowed out below that initial compaction point and a natural arch forms.

I suspect something similar has happened here. The snowman started to slowly lean over, which put the snow crystals on the downward side under compaction, probably at just the right moment in the freeze/thaw cycle. So when it hardened up overnight, a strong arch of ice was formed. And the base is not only heavy but frozen to the ground to a sufficient degree to hold the whole thing more or less in place.

All in all, it's really cool! Thanks for sharing.

-Daniel



I think you're right! I did pack the joints between each ball, and the back of the bottom snowball is against a giant log.

I ran out last night before I passed out (with the pouring rain, I was a bit worried for the guy), and noticed he'd almost reclaimed his head.



And now he's finally regained his head and he's a nice arch!

 
Daniel Ackerman
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Nice. It'll be there for months!
 
Jay Angler
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OT - this if for your kids, Nicole:

Where would a snowman go on his days off of work?

– Snowhere.
 
Nicole Alderman
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They loved it, Jay!

My daughter says, "Or snow woman. There's also snow women!"

Poor Mr. Snowman has not been enjoying the rain. This is how he looked last night. I didn't get a picture today, but he's just slowly melting now :'(.
20221208_015924.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20221208_015924.jpg]
 
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This was teaching me Limbo Dancing...
...then I hit with the forehead the ground way above that body angle.

With 60 I better stay with more suitable sports.

"gone fishing"
 
Jordan Holland
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This idea could prevent the leaning issue:
316538605_1308099293283853_5450816991777949011_n.jpg
snowmailbox
snowmailbox
 
Jordan Holland
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I found a pic of another leaning snowman!
tumblr_inline_pa2zk5ryLj1u9qpqd_400.jpg
He-Heee
He-Heee
 
Nicole Alderman
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Sadly, the rain came and melted much of Mr. Snowman away. BUT! Not all of him melted. He has survived long enough for more snow to come. We can rebuild him!
20221218_162117.jpg
We just need a bit more snow to fall, and then we can build him back!
We just need a bit more snow to fall, and then we can build him back!
 
Jordan Holland
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But will he lean???
gift
 
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