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Giant, Boulder-Sized Ice Balls Form At Lake Michigan (Video)

The shores of Lake Michigan were filled with massive ice balls this week, similar to last year’s ice rocks that were named one of the “Most Amazing Earth Images of 2013” by online magazine LifeScience.

Ken Scott, a Suttons Bay photographer, uploaded video of the sight in Glen Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, which features thousands of round, boulder-sized ice balls being hit by waves near the shore.

While the “polar vortex” has hit Michigan with cold temperatures and covered roads with snow, Scott refused to back down from capturing the scene.

“That’s when some of the best shows are,” he said.

The rounded ice forms when “chunks of ice break off the large sheets of ice on the lake,” Park Ranger Amie Lipscomb told MLive. The waves pummel the ice enough so the edges are smoothed and rounded and new layers of ice are added.

Some of the boulders are thought to weigh as much as 75 pounds, and some may keep growing depending on the temperature, according to meteorologist Jim Andrews from

“It’s possible that the ice is accreting like a snowball or like a hailstone, and that they keep growing,” Andrews said.

Lake Michigan’s Good Harbor Bay was decorated with similar giant ice balls last winter.

“It’s not that it never happens and this is a once in a decade thing,” Tom Ulrich, the deputy superintendent from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore told UpNorthLive last year. “It happens more often than that, but these are very large and got bigger than they normally get.”

Andrews said while the process occurs only in specific condition, it is not an abnormal event.

Sources:, UpNorthLive, MLive


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