Giant ice disk concludes its 15 minutes of fame

In this Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 aerial image taken from a drone video and provided by the City of Westbrook, Maine, a naturally occurring ice disk forms on the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine. Tina Radel | City of Westbrook, via AP

It is somewhat comforting that the nation can still be united enough to marvel at a chunk of ice in a river.

For the last few days, a giant circular piece of ice in the Presumpscot River in Maine has been spinning and capturing the world’s attention.

This isn’t one of those human-made disks that have become a fad; this was all the work of nature.

Time magazine explained the science of it all:

Random eddies in water will generally follow a circular route—the rotation of the Earth again—moving more slowly than the overall, downstream current.

Bits of ice become trapped in the vortex and, since slower water is less turbulent than faster water, more ice is able to form and accumulate, eventually accreting into a sheet.

As the sheet turns, it bumps up against the shore or other chunks of ice and is, in effect, lathed down until it is round.

Alas, it’s time to return to our mundane existences. The ice disk has stopped spinning, the Portland Press Herald reports today. “It is doomed to become just a piece of ice,” it says.

Visitors are still showing up to look at it. One, Patty Fitzpatrick, lamented that some young person didn’t get in a boat and try to start it spinning again. Seriously.

“Kids these days have no ambition,” Fitzpatrick said.

Spinning ice makes us insane.