Over the next few days we’ll be posting installments of an ongoing series here at the Backyard Geographer documenting winter ice formation on Lake Michigan. For previous coverage, see parts 1 and 2 from 2009-2011, and part 3 from December of last year.
The pictures in the series below were taken on January 11, 2013 after overnight rain. The air temperature was 50⁰F. Daytime high temperatures have been above freezing for a week.
By January 11, lakeshore ice has nearly disappeared and Lake Michigan is calm. It looks much like the scene on December 19 before the first ice of this season formed.
Only a few small remnants of white remain. This one runs along the beach for about 30 feet and extends about 10 feet out into Lake Michigan.
Disguised ice persists in several places. This slab is so imbedded with sand that it is only revealed by the undercutting action of waves.
Even as it gives way to warm weather, the shore ice forms fantastical shapes like these delicate stingray figures that seem poised to leap into the lake.
Eventually all the ice yields and crumples into the lake.
text and images by Steve Jansen