“This is meant only in good fun,” I began my inquiry to one of Upstate’s leading cancer researchers, Juntao Luo PhD.
In emptying an ice tray one recent morning, I came across this bizarre ice cube, with a cylinder or thin tower building upward from its base like a stalagmite you would find growing upward from the floor of a cave. I posted a picture of the mystery ice cube on Facebook, receiving only silly suggestions of the cause. So, I took a stab at getting a real answer from a real scientist. Dr. Luo was fresh on my mind, as he had recently consented to appearing in the magazine I edit, Upstate Health. He’s busy creating new ways to get cancer drugs into tumors — but he kindly took a short break to ponder my ice cube mystery.
If there was no water dripping from the top of the freezer — and I checked that there wasn’t — Luo theorized that some “impurity or dust in the water induced a highly ordered crystal of water.” The vapor water molecules continuously grew at that one site, in that same direction. “Eventually it forms a stalagmite,” he said.
So…I think that means the ice tray needs cleaning!
Read about Dr. Luo’s exciting research on pages 12-13 of Upstate Health