A brinicle (brine icicle, also known as ice stalactite) forms beneath sea ice when a flow of extremely cold, saline water is introduced to an area of ocean water, being the undersea equivalent of a hollow stalactite or icicle.
Known since the 1960s, the generally accepted model of their formation was proposed by the US oceanographer Seelye Martin in 1974. The formation of a brinicle was first filmed in 2011 by producer Kathryn Jeffs and cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson for the BBC series Frozen Planet.
It’s not easy to find any equivalent. It might even be impossible. Perhaps etymology helps. Where does brinicle come from? “Brine” is just water with high salinity, you might call it Sole in German. However, its etymology doesn’t help at all, because it seems to have derived from “to cut” or “to maim”. “Icicle”, on the other hand, has a perfect Germanic origin (actually meaning “icy lump of ice”), yet Germans call it Eiszapfen (“ice cone”).
If I had to make an analogy up, I’d start with Sole-Eiszapfen, ’cause that’s what “brinicle” means. While it makes it sound like it appears on land, you could say the same for “brinicle”.
There’s a German National Geographic article that mentions Eis-Stalaktit (“ice stalactite”), referring to its hanging appearance. However, it leaves out the salty part. An Austrian newspaper had a short report on the BBC documentary, and they called it Eisfinger (“ice finger”), which also gets the idea across, yet still not accounting for the saline water involved.
Finally, look at some of the other Wikipedia languages, and their respective translations to German:
- Swedish: Isstalaktit → Eis-Stalaktit? (“ice stalactite”)
- Turkish: ölüm sarkıtı → Stalaktiten des Todes (“stalactites of death”)
- Catalan: estalactita de gel → Stalaktiten aus Eis (“stalactites of ice”)
I don’t think there’s a common, widely accepted German word for “brinicle”. Just make one up.