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Ice Boulders Wash Up On Lake Michigan

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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

Published on Mar 1, 2013

A natural winter phenomenon on the shores of Lake Michigan has captured the attention of local residents after hundreds of ice boulders or ice balls were seen lining the shores of the Great Lake.

"Literally the both sides to the left and to the right just massive perfectly round, smooth ice balls for as far as I could see. I was just astonished, I couldn't believe it. I'd never seen anything like it," said Leda Olmsted, who posted pictures on social media of the rare sight.

The ice boulders are the size of giant beach balls or basketballs, but Tom Ulrich of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, said they are not unpresidented.

"Its not that it never happens and this is a once in a decade thing. It happens more often than that, but these were very large got bigger than they usually get," he said about the up to 50 lbs (22.7 kg) balls.

According to local meteorologists, they form because the water in Lake Michigan is just below freezing, causing small pieces of ice to form that get larger as waves move back and forth adding additional water that freezes in layers. They then get pushed onto shore by the wind.

"As these things rub together it is very much like a river rock, a river stone, they get polished and sculpted into that round shape that Leda saw when she visited," added Ulrich.


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