Readers explain Benedicta ice circle: It was caused by an eddy, or by deer chasing their tails

Up in the Aroostook County town of Benedicta, there have been some strange goings-on.

Or maybe the goings-on have been remarkably normal.

That’s for readers to decide.

And that’s why I shared Alvin Martin’s photo of an ice circle with BDN readers last week. Many enjoyed looking at the photo and trying to figure out what they were seeing.

An ice circle on a stream in Benedicta, Maine. (Photo courtesy of Alvin Martin)

An ice circle on a stream in Benedicta, Maine. (Photo courtesy of Alvin Martin)

Some chose to chide me for being lazy, and for not doing a simple Google search before foisting what they say was a remarkably easy-to-explain photo on the public as a real, live mystery.

To those party-poopers, I say this: What fun would that have been?

The answer: No fun at all. None.

Readers, I have learned, have little tolerance for writers who think they know it all … especially if all that “knowledge” is gleaned from a simple Google search.

On that count, I guess I’m lucky: I know I don’t know it all. Not even close.

So I asked for your input, realizing that many would take serious stabs at explaining the phenomenon shown in Martin’s photo.

I also hoped readers would have some fun along the way, and that they might suggest some pretty far-fetched explanations.

They did.

Like the reader who said the ice circle was clearly caused by a herd of deer chasing their tails. Or the caller who told me she was quite certain that there was a swordfish living beneath the ice circle. Or the on-line commenter who blamed the circle on werebeavers.

Others (hopefully in search of a chuckle) said that the circle might be useful for those hoping to travel to outer space,

“It is obvious that it is a teleportation ring to Mars,” one wrote. “Sort of like a stargate, but smaller — a one-man unit to a single location. Have a good trip!”

Another said aliens from Wallagrass were responsible. I haven’t spent much time in Wallagrass, and attempts to reach an alien representative who lives in the town were unsuccessful, so I can’t fully support this claim.

One reader who lives in the area said he has fished that stream regularly, and had a more earthly explanation.

“I can pretty much guarantee somebody tried cutting that [ice] out to put a bait trap in there to catch bait fish,” he wrote. “But I think you would be pretty foolish to think aliens made that. It’s either man-made or made by nature.”

Ah, nature.

A few readers said they thought the circle was likely caused by a spring in the stream.

More than a few discounted that explanation and provided links to previously published stories and videos that seem to have merit.

Ice circles, it seems, are not as rare as you might think. Those aliens from Wallagrass travel a fair bit, it seems.

Either that, or the majority of our readers were correct when they explained that ice circles are often formed in the eddy of a stream or river, when the water slowly circles and freezes during certain conditions.

That, most of our readers have said, is what caused the Benedicta ice circle.

And I’d tend to agree.

Of course, I wasn’t there to see it happen. And neither were our readers.

So I guess there’s still room for doubt … or the possibility of a herd of deer chasing their tails.


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.