Watch: The Eruption of Ice Volcanoes on Lake Michigan Beach

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • First ice balls, and now ice volcanoes are erupting on Oval Beach in Saugatuck, Michigan on Sunday.
  • Ice volcanoes are cone-shaped mounds of ice formed over a lake by the eruption of water and slush through an ice shelf.
  • These ice volcanoes can be dangerous for people who wish to climb these icy mounds.

The cold front that took place in Lake Michigan carried with it striking developments: first ice balls, and now ice volcanoes.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ernie Ostuno manages to memorialize these phenomena in pictures. He managed to take photos of erupting ice volcanoes at Oval Beach in Saugatuck, Michigan on Sunday.

Ice volcanoes are cone-shaped mounds of ice formed over a lake by the eruption of water and slush through an ice shelf.

“Ice volcanoes occur in locations in which waves hit accumulated ice on the shoreline with some force,” said meteorologist Cort Spholten from the National Weather Service of Grand Rapids.

“We were cold enough to form ice on the shore of Lake Michigan, and water had broken the surface of that ice,” Spholten said. “The waves … were strong enough so the water channels through, it squeezes water upwards and tosses the floating ice up. As it happens, over the course of hours or days, it forms a cone, and it resembles a volcano.”

Spholten notes that the formation of ice volcanoes is only successful should specific conditions are met.

“It needs to stay cold enough to keep the ice around, and waves need to be large enough to force water upwards against the ice shelf,” he said.

When asked for how long will these phenomena last?

“Today, winds from the southeast should diminish the waves. It’s unlikely ice volcanoes will be seen today compared to yesterday, but it’s not impossible,” Spholten said.

Ice volcanoes may pose a danger for people who are thinking about climbing these icy mounds. Not only would the ice make you lose footing more easily, but there may also be no way to get out of the icy water if you slip down the side of one of the mounds.

The formation of ice volcanoes on Lake Michigan was consequential to another rare phenomenon that has taken place.

Thousands of ice balls rolled up onto the lakeshore on Friday. The experts note that the weather conditions should be right: The temperature along shallow beaches should be below zero Celsius. Slush collects into round shapes, and the waves sculpt ice chunks into orbs.

Source: USA Today

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