The first pic shows a piece of 3/4 rigid. If you look closely you'll see a white wire on one end that I was trying to get out of the pipe. I wanted to use the pipe again so I sawed it off right in the middle of a coupling. Imagine my surprise when I still couldn't pull it out. The 2nd picture shows why, ice had pushed the neutral wire thru the crack in the pipe. No one ever noticed it as you can see by the paint on the wire. I think its quite likely the conduit was carrying the current for the device the neutral was hooked to. It happened to be a 2" solenoid valve on a gas tank. oops
This is the 2nd time I've seen this. The other time it was a hot conductor so it tripped the breaker. Water in conduit above grade makes for busted pipes in the north country. Seems odd it would push a wire out the side like that
We chased an intermittent short caused by this same thing a number of years ago. When the water froze there was no short and when the ice melted the pipe made contact with the wire and caused the fuse to blow.
At my home I ran conduit for my phone out to the pole using rigid risers and nineties and PVC between the house and the pole. The second winter the water froze in the 90 at the house and actually pulled the phone cable apart. The cable was the standard 3 pair underground cable with the gopher shield and it was completely separated by the action of the ice. I ran temp over the ground for the rest of the winter and when I replaced the cable in the spring, I drilled holes in the conduit to allow the water to drain and have not had a problem since.
I have also had the fibers of a fiber optic cable crushed and broke by the action of ice in rigid conduit.
I made a proposal a number of cycles ago to require that rigid conduit and concrete encased conduit be installed below the frost line for underground installations to prevent problems like this but it was rejected.