The account of the observers

In a break during the school day the 11th of December 2003, the classmates Gjermund and Sivert (both12 years old) were standing outside the school at Snåsa. They were discussing the film Signs that they had not yet seen, but were eager to see, because they had heard that it was about exiting and mysterious patterns in fields. While talking about the film, one of them accidentally threw a glance at a field just below the schoolyard. There they saw something they had never seen the likes of.
– Something that looked like a pattern of snow was clearly standing out from the field. The boys felt that it was a bit creepy, especially since they had just been discussing the film Signs. They went to fetch their classmate Victoria, and together they wanted to take a closer look at the pattern at once. But they realized there was no time. The next lesson was starting in a minute, and they were having a math test. The friends were thus not able to take a closer look at the strange pattern before school hours were over. They then saw that the pattern was not made of snow, but of solid ice, and that it consisted of a circle about 75 cm in diameter with two rings around it. The outer ring was about approx. 10 metres in diameter (exact measurement later stated 12 m, red.). Four straight arms, forming a cross, ran from the centre circle out to the outer ring. One of these arms continued about two metres outside the ring. The pictogram can best be described a 2-3 cm thick ice relief that lay upon the withered grass. The elements of the pattern were regular and exact, but some snow had blown up around the relief and gave the impression, when the pictogram was seen from a distance, that the pattern was somewhat irregular. The whole ice formation was, by the way, covered with a very thin layer of snow. The temperature was about -2° C.The three friends went to Victoria’s home to fetch a video camera, and when they came back to the site of the pictogram it was past three pm and already quite dark. (At this latitude, - 64 degrees north, in December, the sun sets at 2.30 pm.) Victoria first filmed the pictogram from some distance, but when they came down to the pattern to film it close up, the camera stopped working. It later turned out that the battery was completely destroyed. It would not reload and had to be replaced with a new one.

In the evening it started to snow. And next morning, when the friends came to take a closer look at the pattern, the field was covered with a thick layer of snow and the pattern was invisible. The friends removed the snow from a section of the pattern and found that the ice relief was still intact under the snow.

Comments by the Norwegian Crop Circle Group

The discovery of the ice-circle was reported by phone to the Norwegian Crop Circle Group December the 13th 2003 by Victoria Flasnes, a 12 year pupil at Snåsa school. (Read the observer's account below!). Further survey, such as measuring the circle, construction of diagram, correspondance by post and e-mail, video editing and copying was startet immediately, and, with some delay the material was presented at our website the 28th of January 2004.   

Date of appearence
The school friends cannot say exactly when the pattern may have appeared. They noticed it for the first time Thursday morning 11th of December 2003. They are also certain that it was not there the previous day. They also agree that they had never seen anything out of the ordinary in the field prior to the ice pictogram.

The privious days Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were very mild days. The Meteorological Institute in Oslo informs us that all these days were unusually mild for the time of the year. The maximum temperatures were Monday +3° C, Tuesday +3,5° C and Wednesday +6,5° C. The night between Wednesday and Thursday the temperature was gradually falling below the freezing point, down to -2° C. Thursday morning a little snow had fallen, but on Thursday evening and night there was a heavier snowfall.

Considering that it was so mild during the three previous days, it’s unlikely that the pattern may have appeared earlier than the night before Thursday. Had the pattern already been there on Wednesday, the high temperature would probably have melted the ice.

Prior weather conditions
There had been no snow for a couple of weeks when the pattern appeared (quite unusual for the location at that time of the year). This means, that for a long time in advance, there was no snow or ice on the field. There had been several snowfalls during October and November, but this snow had melted a couple of weeks earlier. There had been a period of barefrost prior to the event, though, and the ground was probably still frozen even after some days of mild weather. 

(Normally the ground is permanently frozen to a dept of 50-75 cm from November until April in most of Norway, and certainly at this location at 64° north. Equals Fairbanks, Alaska. It takes several weeks of quite mild weather to thaw the ground completely.)

It’s difficult to imagine how the ice pictogram may have come into being. Perhaps humidity has in some way been drawn from the ground, where it has frozen. But this, of course, is nothing more than a speculation. 

Photo quality, survey and measurements
From the very dark film, which was recorded with a very unstable handheld camera, we were able to extract a still image, which shows part of the formation. Unfortunately, on the image, the formation is partly obscured by some trees. The picture is, as you can see, of very poor quality. But we choose to make it available as documentation. The survey is based upon the information given by the three friends, and upon their rough measurements of the formation.

Further research
Since December nearly a meter of snow has fallen in the area. The snow will, if the winter proceeds in a normal way, continue to fall until April. According to residents in the area it would be virtually impossible to dig down through the snow at this time to see if the relief is still there. The circle is covered by minimum 120 m3 of snow, heavily packed due to the frequent changes in temperature, resulting in alternating periods of frost and mild weather.

Norwegian Crop Circle Group will have people mointoring the field, though. And with some luck, the pattern might reappear in spring, or earlier if extremly mild weather should melt the snow on the field before that. We then hope to be able to carry out further investigation, e.g. take samples from the soils

2004.01.28 / Norwegian Crop Circle Group by Eva-Marie Brekkestø

21st of FEBRUARY 2004:

The ice circle at Snåsa revisited

Saturday the 21th of February 2004, Thor Riseth discovered that the ice circle that had been discovered at Vinjetrøa the 11th of December 2003 had partly been brought into daylight again! 

The previous days at Snåsa had been very mild and rainy leaving large areas free of snow. Riseth, who is a journalist in the local newspaper Snåsningen, went to the field at Vinjetrøa before noon and found that close to half the pictogram was again visible.

Thor Riseth took several photographs, - both from a distance and close up ground shots. On the pictures we can see that the snow cover had melted away from almost half of the ice circle. And even though the pattern elements were now a bit disintegrated, the main shape of the pattern was still clearly visible. The three parallel snow tracks that make a turn into the field from the left are reminiscent of a cross-country ski trail set by a preparation machine.

Riseth marked out the formation by inserting sticks into the ground at different parts of the pattern. Hopefully it will, in this way, be possible to reconstruct the exact placement of the pattern in the field in spring. When the snow is melted and the ground has thawed, samples of grass and soil will be collected. The BLT Research Team Inc. in the USA will analyse the samples to see if plants or soil have been affected in similar ways as they often are in crop circles.

The different elements of the formation had become quite blurred, and had at some places partly disappeared. The height of the ice relief was also varying, and the ice elements, that earlier appeared as clear profiles, were now fairly flat and vague.

The partial reappearance of the ice pattern has also made more accurate measurements possible. It turned out that the size has to be upgraded by a couple of metres in comparison to the first approximate survey that was carried out without a measuring tape on the 13th of December 2003.

Saturday afternoon, while Riseth was still surveying the ice formation, it started snowing, and in the evening the pattern was already under 10 cm of snow. In the days following, continuous snowfalls have again covered the field with a thick layer of snow.

2004.02.21/Information provided by Thor Riseth
to the Norwegian Crop Circle Group.

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