May 26, 2022

A “Cool” New Resource: Online Icicle Atlas – Print Your Own 3D Icicles

Water and cold air not required. (-:

From the University of Toronto:

 Anyone who might be dreading the end of winter or cannot wait until it arrives again can now enjoy the beauty and mystery of icicles all year long with the Icicle Atlas.

A giant trove of data on icicle shapes and growth, the atlas contains more than 230,000 images as well as hundreds of time-lapse movies of icicles grown under controlled conditions in the laboratory. It’s all free for download by anyone, thanks to years of research by physicists at the University of Toronto.

“I expect to be surprised by what uses people find for it,” said Stephen Morris, a professor in U of T’s department of physics who, with former graduate student Antony Chen, has been studying icicle morphology for several years.


An icicle’s shape is a chicken-and-egg scenario between the flow of super-cold water and an evolving shape. The shape determines the flow and flow determines the shape, which makes explaining the icicle’s emergent shape tricky.

See Also: The Mysterious (and Cool) Science of Icicles (via Globe and Mail; March 2, 2014)

Icicle Atlas: The Videos

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.