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A strange and beautiful sight greeted locals in the Gulf of Ob,
in northwest Siberia, after thousands of natural snowballs formed
on the beach. An 11-mile (18km) stretch of coast was covered in
the icy spheres. The sculptural shapes range from the size of a
tennis ball to almost 1m (3ft) across. 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.
A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which
large snowballs are formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown
along the ground by wind, picking up material along the way,
in much the same way that the large snowballs used in snowmen
are made. They can be as small as a tennis ball, but they can also
be bigger than a car.
Winter may seem to offer nothing but chills and spills, but rare
and special natural phenomena like Snow Rollers provide those lucky
enough to witness them an undoubtedly warm thrill. Let’s roll!