See the Deadly ‘Icicle of Death’ Wreak Havoc Underwater

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: October 22, 2023
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This video looks like something from a sci-fi flick. However, what it documents is a brinicle, also known as the ‘icicle of death.’ It’s a BBC-narrated video and the narrator starts off by explaining that ice forming above leaves behind super salty brine that starts immediately sinking.

The brine is extremely cold and since it is denser than the surrounding water, it starts transforming into a brinicle as it keeps descending. The crew captures this footage at Little Razorback Island, which is located close to Antarctica’s Ross Archipelago.

Watch This Underwater Icicle Destroy Underwater!

Watch as this eerie underwater icicle kills every living thing in its path.

From this underwater view, you watch as the brinicle starts descending like a long curved finger down onto the seabed. It appears to move rapidly, almost like a tornado formation. Then, you get a close-up look at how it continues freezing into an icy sheath all around.

The water below starts mirroring the cold world above as the finger of death inches down. The temperature is well below 0°C, which means this underwater icicle is freezing everything in its path. It keeps descending and the scene is uncanny as it starts getting closer to the seafloor.

This event happens significantly slower than the speed throughout the footage. If you know anything about starfish, you know they don’t quite scatter the way they appear in the video. For sake of time, diving specialists used timelapse video equipment to give you a look into this incredible underwater miracle.

A BBC team captured this footage. They waited for the perfect moment and used a timelapse camera to capture this incredible event. It captures the exact moment when the brine starts sinking, demonstrating how the icy sheath starts forming all around it.

Partly visible sea urchin frozen in place

Partly visible sea urchin frozen in place, demonstrating how ice can kill these sea creatures on contact.


This was a fantastic effort by the diving specialists, who knew of previous brinicles forming in the area. They timed the filming perfectly when the conditions were again perfect to witness its formation. Just as the finger of death reaches the seafloor, you see that it immediately freezes starfish and urchins in place.

This ominous sheath of ice completely encases these sea creatures. The brinicle continues traveling the seabed, killing everything in its path. Some urchins and starfish manage to avoid its path and return to the ice as if to examine what’s happened. You get another close-up image of some frozen starfish just as the video ends.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Shatributor/

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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