Unusual Spiral Action causes Star Hailstones ?


New member
David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology and Chemistry
University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Batavia OH 45103

I collected these hail stones following a hailstorm on 6 April 2001 in SW Ohio. I am calling them "star hail stones." I have been unable to find any record of such stones, nor explanation of how they may have formed. See my hypothesis below the picture.


David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D hypothesis: We know that hail stones are formed by repeatedly being carried high in thunderheads where it freezes, and cycle back down through warmer zones where they pick up more water which is subsequently frozen as they are carried up again. If the stones are being carried upward near a windshear zone of up and down drafts, they would spin. As they spin, water would move to the outer edge of the spinning stone. If freezing occurred at foci instead of evenly, points would begin to form. These points would subsequently serve as conduits for additional water to be carried during spinning, and freeze there, extending the "ray."

source: David B. Fankhauser, PhD, Clermont College