In late October, far in Russia’s north, villagers in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug discovered an unusual sight: thousands of giant snowballs have formed naturally on the frozen banks of a local river. According to the Vesti news network, the enormous ice balls formed after heavy snowfall, followed by a thaw and a sudden rainstorm.
“All along the shore, lumps of snow and ice formed, and when the surf came in, strong waves started to break up masses of snow into small pieces and roll them in the sand. The pieces of ice started to grow. And so we get these balls of different sizes,” a local housing and social development official told reporters.
They result from a rare environmental process where small pieces of ice form, are rolled by wind and water, and end up as giant snowballs.Locals in the village of Nyda, which lies on the Yamal Peninsula just above the Arctic Circle, say they have never seen anything to compare to them.