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PHOTOS: Winter Phenomenon 'Slushy' Waves Spotted In Eastham

EASTHAM (CBS) -- Nearly frozen waves could be seen at the beach in Eastham on Friday. Photos of the phenomenon were tweeted at WBZ-TV meteorologists.

Slushy waves or "Slurpee waves" have become somewhat of a local wintertime phenomenon around here in the past decade or so.

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Slushy waves in Eastham on Friday (Photo Via Megan O'Leary Twitter)

So what causes them? First and foremost, you need exceptionally cold air--we certainly have that right now.

Seawater freezes at 28.4 degrees, not 32 degrees, due to the salt content. As the ocean water begins to freeze, you get needle-like ice crystals called "frazil" to form in the water. The salt, of course, doesn't freeze and begins to separate from the water and ice crystals.

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Slushy waves in Eastham on Friday (Photo Via Megan O'Leary Twitter)

The slushy look comes from the fact that the ocean is in constant motion (unlike a lake or pond). The frazil (ice crystals) begin to collide and coalesce and meld into a slushy appearance. Of course, if the temperatures remain frigid for a long period of time, you will start to form ice chunks and sheets, something even rarer in our area.

Just a little taste of the Arctic, right in our backyards!

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Slushy waves in Eastham on Friday (Photo Via Megan O'Leary Twitter)

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