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Those patches that you can see drifting down the Rock River are a skin of freshly formed ice, and they contain bits of sediment from the river bottom.
If I remember my high school chemistry correctly (no guarantees), water reaches its maximum density at about 2 deg C (36 deg F), and becomes about 10% less dense when it undergoes the state transition to become ice. It freezes at 0 C (32 F), and the extra 2 C is lost due to the energy consumed by the state transition. Therefore, that skin of ice contains unlovely yellow-green traces of whatever was on the bottom of the river when it froze. That's my theory. Anyone care to correct me?
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