Nature Canada

The Different Types of Ice

With the opportunity to participate in IceWatch this month, we decided we want to know more about ice!

Ice seems to be simply a state of water, however many do not know that there are different types of ice. These ice types are known as the phases in which the ice is in. Depending on the age, ice can vary in salinity, roughness, and the overall strength.

The phases of ice range from I to XVI (1 to 16). These phases describe the characteristics of the ice itself, explaining the chemical structure of the ice and at what temperature they are formed. For example, Ice IX is when the ice is in a tetragonal metastable phase. This ice is formed from Ice III cooling from 208 K (-65.15 °C) to 165 K (-108.15 °C) and it has a density that is slightly higher than ordinary ice.

Ice cubesThese phases make up ice that we see in our daily lives, like the ice we see in our freezer is actually ice IV! These phases of ice also are found throughout icebergs, ice sheets, and glaciers.

To learn more about ice and how you can start to monitor it, join our IceWatch program.


For more information on all sixteen types of ice, click here and here.


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