100-metre “ice circle” appeared mysteriously on April 12, 2019, within
the offshore ice of a large lake in central China, far from any major
city. It showed the image of a “swimming or jumping fish”, and also of a
“DC shunt motor”. Was it really made as an advertisement for a car
company, as some people have suggested?
“Reason must be our last judge and guide in everything.”
---John Locke 1690
seen any direct evidence, that the new “ice circle” in China was
made by a big team of Chinese marketing men, using an unknown method to
pattern (or partially melt) some open-lake ice, far from shore? Way out
in the countryside between Mongolia and Tibet, on a high plateau 3000
meters above sea level? If so, then it seems strange they did not make a
drone video to document such an important and expensive event!
“marketing men” would have had to work in daylight for reasons of
safety. Most Chinese people cannot swim, and the weather was very cold.
A drone video of the construction process, from start to finish, would
certainly have been expected by their employer. Almost all Chinese ad
agencies today use aerial drone cameras. Where is the drone video,
showing how it was made? That car company seems to have presented no
reliable evidence at all, as we will show further below.
We can see
there the outlines of a “swimming or jumping fish”, made seemingly by
blue-green lake water, filling the empty spaces left by melting snow or
outlines of that “ice circle” seem to have been formed by
water from the lake, which filled some empty places where the
snow or ice had melted due to mild heat (see
www.chinanews.com). Was it made perhaps by an infrared laser,
located high up in space?
image which was drawn there resembles some kind of “swimming or jumping
fish”. Anyone can see easily a large “fish head”, “pointed eye” and
“forked tail”. The Chinese carp are jumping!
Chinese carp are known to have a great propensity to “jump” in schools
www.youtube.com). Many Chinese carp live in Qinghai Lake.
They live out in the lake where this “ice circle” appeared, not on dry
circle” does not look anything like an “advertisement for a car”. Who
would draw a “fish” to help sell cars? So with that “red herring” out of
the way, what are the real “ice artists” trying to tell us?
turns smoothly through the water, just like a “DC shunt motor” turns
smoothly at constant speed
study the artistic details of this “ice circle”, we find that it
resembles both a “swimming or jumping fish” (quite appropriate for an
image drawn out on a lake), and also the power circuit of a “DC shunt
motor”, as a second related metaphor (see
ice-drawn “fish” seems to be turning clockwise in a circle, from its
“forked tail” to its “large head” with an “pointed eye”, just as a DC
shunt motor might turn clockwise in a circle.
this second metaphor (explained in a slide above), the central round
“armature” of an ice-drawn “DC motor” seems to be turning past four
small, round “magnets” which are located around the outside. Those four
“magnets” have been symbolized by four small circles, which were drawn
as “empty-filled-empty-filled” shapes. Such symbols suggest that the
poles of those four magnets might be arranged as N-S-N-S, just as in any
standard, four-pole, motor or generator.
curved lines, which connect the outer four circles at upper left or
lower right, have been drawn with directional “arrow” shapes to suggest
clockwise motion. Another thick, curved line (at upper right) has been
divided into two pieces or “split”, perhaps to suggest the split-ring
commutator of a DC motor?
“brushes” (drawn just left or right of the centre) seem to connect the
central, rotating “armature” of this DC motor to a “shunted” power
circuit and a “current source”. A divided-circle symbol for “fixed
current source” can be seen at upper left.
small, open or filled circles, drawn as a “dumbbell shape” at lower
left, may be seen near this fish’s “forked tail”. The dumbbell-shape has
been drawn often in crop circles since 1990, to symbolize the “pushing”
Lorentz force of electromagnetism. By analogy, the “forked tail” of that
“fish” pushes water to help the fish move along, or even jump!
the metaphoric message of this new “ice circle” might be: “A DC shunt
motor turns smoothly in a circle (at constant speed), just as a swimming
fish turns smoothly in a circle of water.” This new artwork may be
meant to teach us a useful lesson in electromagnetic engineering, by
humorously comparing the motion of a DC motor with that of a swimming or
does a DC “shunt” motor operate, and turn smoothly like a “fish turning
in the water”?
The schematic image of a rotating DC
“shunt” motor may be seen here, from times 2:36 to 3:34 of a small movie
www.youtube.com). Its similarity to certain details of the
Qinghai Lake “ice circle” seem obvious. The “shunt” design of any DC
motor represents a parallel (rather than series) connection of power
which goes to the electromagnetic “field coils” on an outside stator,
and power which goes to the “induction coils” on an inner rotor. Such a
parallel or “shunt” connection enables that kind of motor to turn
smoothly under all conditions, just like a carp from Qinghai Lake turns
smoothly in the water!
this clever “ice circle”, which appeared in blue-green lake water at
Qinghai Lake on the morning of April 12, 2019?
We have been
shown a very clever technical drawing, which seems to have been designed
by experts in both art and electrical engineering. But who made it? And
why on offshore lake-water ice? Perhaps to be consistent with its
“swimming or jumping fish” motif? Such an interpretation might seem
quite reasonable at first glance.
But then to
“muddy the waters”, a Chinese company called “AION” released a brief
30-second video, to suggest that this “fishy ice circle” was made as
part of a promotional campaign for their car business! “Fish” and
“cars”, how might those two subjects mix? Only as a result of some
very-contorted graphics by a public relations firm, who went to great
lengths to convert that ice-drawn image of a “fish”, into the
four-letter name of a Chinese car company called “AION”.
Let us study
how this remarkable graphic transformation was achieved! First we can
see a similarity between a new logo for AION (shown at upper
left) and the “ice circle” as drawn (shown at lower right). But we can
also see many important differences:
if we study that “ice circle” close to its broad central circle, we can
see that two thin lines were drawn vertically-offset from one another
(like for an AC “slip ring”). Yet the same two lines seem
perfectly-aligned with one another in the new company logo.
example, one thick, curved line at upper left in the “ice circle” was
drawn divided in two parts or split (like for a DC “split ring”). This
detail may be seen clearly in another slide above. Yet that thick,
curved line appears perfectly-solid or unbroken in the new company logo.
Why would that be, except for the graphic artists making a silly
company video seems like a “rabbit-out-of-a-hat”: meant just for
The AION car
company even suggested that we could recover four letters “A”, “I”, “O”
and “N” of their name, from the “fishy ice circle” drawn at Qinghai
Lake, by a complex sleight-of-hand. They ask us to superimpose a line
drawing of that “ice circle” (shown at top centre in the slide below,
outlined by a white square) with another hypothetical drawing at upper
left. Next they ask us to overlap the combined drawing (shown at lower
left) with two more hypothetical drawings as shown on the right-hand
side (at lower centre or upper right). Somewhat magically, after
combining four separate line-drawings, we can see the name
It should be
noted that only one (1) of those four (4) overlapping
drawings, which are needed to complete their “naming” process, seems to
have been drawn anywhere on the real surface of the Earth (in the ice at
The other 3
drawings were just generated on a computer, then overlaid in a company
movie (using more computer graphics) with 3 unknown landscapes
from snow or grass (see times 0:00, 0:09, 0:12 or 0:16 of
of this video therefore seem to be faked! Even the real image in ice,
drawn at Qinghai Lake, was overlaid in the company movie (from times
0:01 to 0:08) with a fake
brown colour, to make it appear
as if it had been drawn in sand.
Its true colour is blue-green,
just like for lake water on
both sides of the white ice sheet where it appeared, after some of the
story of a “sand circle”, made by pouring extra sand on top of frozen
dry earth, which was “forgotten” by everyone for two months, then
re-appeared magically, after being covered by lake ice that suddenly
Such an artificial change-of-colour in the company movie, from
may have been by intent. Thus it would be far easier to convince a naive
Chinese public that this clever drawing was made somewhere in sand,
rather than in partly-melted snow or ice, way out on Qinghai Lake. How
many Chinese consumers would take the time to check?
That change-of-colour was even part of a “back story” which the car
company seemingly promoted
www.facebook.com paraphrased below for clarity):
“They (the company) made that ‘ice circle’ unintentionally. The original
design was for a ‘sand circle’, made by pouring extra sand on top of
frozen dry earth in February of 2019. The AION company supposedly posted
a video of their ‘sand circle’ on March 13, yet it went unnoticed.”
“Water from the lake then became frozen in late March of 2019. Such
water ice began to melt on April 11. At that time, the melting ice
suddenly revealed a difference of colour between the
‘sand circle’ and other white ice nearby. This unintentional ‘ice
circle’ was actually better than the original ‘sand circle’. It created
a speculation among netizens.”
believe any of this? Maybe they asked a yeti, panda or dragon to help in
obviously, the blue-green
outlines of a new ‘ice circle” at Qinghai Lake were due to melted
lake water filling empty
spaces, left by melting snow or ice. We cannot see any upward
protrusions of brown
sand, except in the company
video, which was altered by computer graphics to show a different
brown colour. No local people
who live near Qinghai Lake saw any “sand circle” being made in February.
They saw no “ice circle” being made in April. They saw no airplanes or
helicopters flying over the area, until the morning of April 12 when it
was first photographed.
Please go to
the top of this article, and look at a true-colour aerial photograph of
the Qinghai Lake ‘ice circle”, along with bare land nearby. Quite
clearly, real sand
on the shoreline (500 meters away) is
brown as you might expect. Yet
dark places within the “ice circle” are all the
colour of lake water nearby.
No one would
make a “sand circle” in the middle of winter, by piling extra sand up on
top of hard-frozen earth. They would go to a popular beach somewhere,
where the sand is soft and easily pliable, and make one there in summer
(just as Julian Richardson and others do in England).
reason why such computer-graphics chicanery worked at all, was because
the central circle drawn in ice at Qinghai Lake resembled an English
letter “O”, while the “forked tail” of its “swimming fish” resembled
part of an English letter “N”. Equally valid “names”, which could be
produced by the same logic, might be “AVON”, “TRON”, “MOON”, etc.
Many people today cannot distinguish “advertising claims” from “true
that Chinese car company seems to have misrepresented the facts in their
sales video in several different ways. Did they make anything at all?
Was their brief video meant as a cover-up, to hide how the “ice circle”
was really made? Or was it just an opportunistic effort to sell more
cars? We can’t know for sure, because they have not released any
reliable, direct evidence.
video seems to have been made quickly by some public-relations firm just
for advertising purposes: in order to brand the new “ice
circle” as part of a campaign to give AION cars more public awareness
for increased sales. Why did many people worldwide immediately believe
it was true? Are most humans intrinsically gullible?
sales-video like that could be made in less than a day, perhaps after
the first photos of that “ice circle” appeared on mainstream news across
the country. The “ice circle” was a very popular subject on Chinese
social media, and hence a good way to catch people’s attention. Why not
take advantage of the opportunity to sell more cars?
we study this “ice circle” from high in the air (or from space), using
Google Earth, we can see the nearby landscape imagery of a “swimming
fish”, which matches the metaphorical theme of a “swimming or jumping
fish” which was drawn there:
landscape “fish” is turning smoothly clockwise in a circle, just as the
armature of a “DC shunt motor” turns smoothly clockwise, inside of four
small magnets located on a stator. The humorous intent of our “ice
artist” friends seems self-evident, as well as their deep scientific
(Dr. Horace R. Drew)
article is dedicated to fish-lovers everywhere, whether on Earth or up