Letter | Published:

The Viscous Motion of Ice

Nature volume 49, page 173 | Download Citation



Is not Sir H. Howorth wrong in assuming that there is no transmission of hydrostatic pressure in ice? Certainly Forbes was of opinion that such transmission existed, and was necessary to explain the remarkable parallelism between the motion of ice and of viscous fluids. It is a question of scale. Even a cup of treacle will not flatten out indefinitely; still less will a barrel of pitch; but I have no doubt a cubic mile of ice would flatten out, but to what extent is a question for calculation, not for dogmatic assertion. Unfortunately the first requisite of such calculations is wanting, as no determination of the coefficient of viscosity exists. Canon Moseley's experiments are clearly out of court, and in the interesting experiments of Mr. Coutts Trotter in 1883, the length of the portion of ice which took part in the shearing motion is not given.

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  1. 19 The Boltons, S.W. December 12.



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