Giant ice circle forms in northern Swedish river

A Swedish man has described his luck after his picture of a peculiar natural phenomenon in an icy river in the far north of the country hit the headlines in Sweden on Monday.

Giant ice circle forms in northern Swedish river
The ice circle in the River Kalix in northern Sweden. Photo: Torgny Johansson

Torgny Johansson spoke to The Local a day after he snapped the picture of the enormous ice circle floating in the Kalix River at Forsbyn, 75 kilometres north of LuleƄ, using his drone.

“I have seen one maybe two or three times before near the same place as this one. But nothing as large as this,” he said.

Ice circles are formed in slow-moving areas of rivers where a part of the current moves in the opposite direction to the main stream, a so-called 'backstream'.

When the water freezes the circling currents form an ice disc.

A relatively rare natural phenomenon in most of the world, they are seen fairly frequently in northern Sweden, but not often as huge as the one captured in the Kalix River.

“I don't think they are that uncommon in streams in the north of Sweden, but they may be hard to see when you are on the ground,” Johansson told The Local after the story was first written about by regional newspaper Norrbottens-Kuriren.

“That's why I took the picture with my drone. I guess the drone was about 60-70 metres high when I took the picture,” he said.