The Ice Balls of Lake Michigan








The unusual phenomenon is attracting national attention


A natural winter phenomenon on the shores of Lake Michigan is grabbing the attention of people here in northern Michigan and across the entire country.

Right now, there are hundreds ice balls or boulders piled along the shores of Lake Michigan at Good Harbor Bay, which is part of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.

Cedar resident Leda Olmsted came across these balls last Thursday while on a walk with her dog. Olmsted says she was amazed by what she saw so she snapped some pictures and posted them on the 7&4 News Facebook page.

Leda says she was shocked by the response. Olmsted explains, "From there it got like 800 shares and thousands of likes and overnight I had Good Morning America and The Weather Channel calling me, so it has been a really crazy weekend!"

Deputy Superintendent from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Tom Ulrich says, "It's not that it never happens and this is a once in a decade thing, it happens more often than that, but these are very large and got bigger than they normally get."

The ice balls or boulders along the shores of Lake Michigan are about the size of giant beach balls or basketballs and weigh up to 50 pounds.

How are ice balls are made? "The water temperature on the Lake Michigan is just a little bit below freezing, so you get a small piece of ice that forms in the water and as waves move back and forth it adds additional water and freezes in layers. It gets bigger and bigger, and eventually you get big balls of ice, that are pushed to the shore by the wind."






Another similar natural winter phenomenon you may have seen along the lake shores in northern Michigan are ice pancakes.





"Ice Pancakes"




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