How cold is ice cold? Turns out, it's a lot colder than you'd imagine.

Water can dip to minus 55 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 48 degrees Celsius) before the liquid absolutely has to freeze, scientists said Wednesday.

That's 87 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius) colder than what we typically think of as the freezing temperature of water.

A research team at the University of Utah found that the water changes physical properties when it becomes supercooled, changes that force the liquid to become a solid.

But the change isn't as simple as a switch - water forms intermediate crystals during supercooling - but instead forms a liquid/ crystal hybrid.

This intermediate ice has a structure between the full structure of ice and the structure of the liquid, Valeria Molinero, senior author of the study, said in a statement. We're solving a very old puzzle of what is going on in deeply supercooled water.

The journal Nature published the research Thursday.