A recent cold snap has resulted in a curious phenomenon occurring on Lake Michigan: the formation of ice volcanoes.
Pictures of the occurrence, which show white, cone-like structures on the surface of the lake spewing water out of the top, were shared on social media.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Grand Rapids uploaded a snap to Twitter, along with the caption: “It was a great day to visit the beach and watch the waves interact with the ice. Here’s a couple ‘ice volcanoes’ erupting at Oval Beach on Sunday, February 16, 2020.”
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Tom Niziol, a contributor for Weather Underground’s Category 6 blog, said they were “some of the best photos of ice volcanoes” he’d ever seen.
Writing in a Facebook post, he explained that ice volcanoes form as water is pushed under the ice sheet – as the pressure builds up the water shoots out through holes in the ice.
“If it’s very cold, then that spray freezes up, eventually building a cone like the ones we see here,” wrote Niziol.
He warned that they can be very dangerous to climb on, however, because they are hollow and built over a hole in the ice.
“Don’t ever go venturing out onto them!” he warned.
Lake Michigan often comes into its own in winter, when it freezes over to jaw-dropping effect.
In March 2019, the arrival of spring weather resulted in ethereal ice shards piling up.
The phenomenon, reported by MLive.com and visible along Michigan’s South Haven’s pier, was captured in stunning photos.
In the pictures, the broken shards could be seen layering as the frozen lake began to thaw.
Elsewhere, Lake Ontario froze over in December last year.
One of the five Great Lakes of North America, it formed ice plates along the shoreline after a cold snap saw temperatures plunge to -7C.
The spectacle was caught on camera by veteran TV anchor and photographer John Kucko, who used a drone to video the lake in all its icy glory.
He shared pictures and footage of the transformation on Twitter, writing: “Welcome to Narnia: The ‘ice plates’ have returned along the shoreline of Lake Ontario today with bitter wind chill in WNY (Webster, NY).”
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