Moscow: We've heard of hailstorms, blizzards, snow storms, etc., but this looks like something completely out of an other realm.
Siberia is witnessing the formation of thousands of giant natural snowballs, discovered on an 18 km-long stretch of a beach in the Gulf of Ob, which has the locals completely stumped.
Ranging from the size of a tennis ball to almost 1 metre across, the snowballs covered a part of the coast.
The reason behind their presence? 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.
Residents of the village of Nyda, which lies on the Yamal Peninsula just above the Arctic Circle, are totally puzzled with these formations and say that they have never witnessed anything like this before.
Russian TV quoted an explanation from Sergei Lisenkov, press secretary of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute: “As a rule, first there is a primary natural phenomenon - sludge ice, slob ice. Then comes a combination of the effects of the wind, the lay of the coastline, and the temperature and wind conditions. It can be such an original combination that it results in the formation of balls like these.”
A similar phenomenon was witnessed in the Gulf of Finland in December 2014, and on Lake Michigan in December 2015, the Ura.ru website said.
Pictures of the snowballs have charmed many Russians on social media platforms. A reader of the TJournal news site calling himself "Anton Antonov" joked: "Soon the peninsula will be invaded by hatched snowsaurs!"
(With PTI inputs)