Investigating Snowdrifts

Author: Tigger (aka ‘the kid’)

Today we did a core sample of a snowdrift on the east side of the house at 10:36 am.The temperature was -6C. Our feet didn’t sink into the snow when we walked.

First we tried using a shower rod. We hammered it into the ground and pulled it out. But when we tried to take it out, the sample broke into little pieces. It was also very difficult to get the sample out of the rod.

Then we used a spade and got a much better view of it. It was 17 cm deep. 3 main layers: 2 of packed snow and 1 of ice. The ice was 8 cm from the ground and about 1 cm thick. I’ve drawn a diagram (click to make it bigger).


When we brushed the snow away from the ice layer it was very uneven and then got thicker. We looked at it very carefully and decided that it was a fossilized boot print from earlier in the winter. The snow with the boot print in it must have melted a bit and then refrozen.

If you woud also like to do this, here are some tips: never use too long a rod, always take notes, it might be a good idea to have a camera around, and we saved two samples in ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. I loved doing this experiment and would recommend that you try it too.


6 thoughts on “Investigating Snowdrifts

  1. Tigger! What a great summary. Most of our snow is gone, but I’m going to try this next year, for sure.

    Or maybe we’ll come up with some other ideas–how cool would a core sample of the compost heap be? Well, I suppose it would only be cool if you had forgotten to turn the compost heap all winter, since it didn’t freeze. Yah. Anyway…

    Great diagram too!


  2. Tigger, that is an excellent essay, if I am allowed to say so! I love your diagram. I agree with Mamacate – how cool would it be to do core samples of things like the compost heap? Will archeology be next?


  3. I read it to the kids and they loved the idea, especially since we just got our first proper dump of snow. This may be on the list of activities for tomorrow — thanks for the inspiration!


  4. Wow that is really cool! I think next year I will have to give it a go and see how it works out. I hope we can hear about more of your adventures on the blog!


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