Ice terms

River ice
While checking out the Coast Guard’s daily ice report for the Hudson River, I encountered unfamiliar terminology. The ice report included descriptions of the type and form of ice such as brash, plate, & fast. I know what these words mean in normal parlance but can only guess as to their reference to ice. For instance, the January 25th report describes the river ice between Saugerties and Catskill as 2-inch cake. I have no idea what “ice cake” might be but assume it doesn’t taste as good as the ice cream kind. Obviously, I needed a crash course in the nomenclature of frozen water. A cursory inquiry into ice terms turned up more everyday words such as anchor, grease, growler, and rind, which have specific meanings in reference to ice. From hanging out with iceboaters like Dock, I recognized a few terms, like bergy bit and pressure ridge. I also ran across utterly unfamiliar words such as aufeis, breccia, frazil, hummock, nilas, firn, polynya, sastrugi, and shuga. Incidentally, “ice cake” is any relatively flat piece of ice less than 22 yards (20 meters) across.