Lake Michigan’s Ice Formations: Part 6

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 parts 3, 4, and 5 from winter 2012-2013.

PART 6

The following series of pictures was taken on January 24, 2013.  The air temperature on this morning was 10⁰F following several days of temperatures well below freezing.  Lake Michigan water temperature is still about 37⁰F.

January 24, 2013, looking northeast along lakeshore, Wilmette, Illinois, Langdon Park

January 24, 2013, looking northeast along lakeshore, Wilmette, Illinois, Langdon Park

Frigid air temperatures, an abundance of floating ice chunks and onshore winds has caused shore ice to grow rapidly.  The ice shelf now generally extends anywhere from about 100 to 200 feet from the shore.

January 24, 2013, looking northeast along lakeshore, Wilmette, Illinois, Langdon Park (bike for scale)

January 24, 2013, looking northeast along lakeshore, Wilmette, Illinois, Langdon Park (bike for scale)

This extinct ice volcano (the same as in the last photo) rises about 5 feet above the general ice surface. The ridge at the water’s edge about 75 feet in the distance is close to 12 feet high.

January 24, 2013, looking east along north side of jetty, Wilmette, Illinois, Gillson Park

January 24, 2013, looking east along north side of jetty, Wilmette, Illinois, Gillson Park

In synchrony with the encroaching swells, this hole in the ice periodically…

January 24, 2013, looking east along north side of jetty, Wilmette, Illinois, Gillson Park

January 24, 2013, looking east along north side of jetty, Wilmette, Illinois, Gillson Park

…erupts with a surge of spray, slush and ice chunks reaching about 10 feet into the air.

January 24, 2013, looking east along north side of jetty, Wilmette, Illinois, Gillson Park

January 24, 2013, looking east along north side of jetty, Wilmette, Illinois, Gillson Park

Between eruptions, the water/sand mixture darkening the surface drains away and a fresh supply of ice chunks freeze to the flanks of the volcano, causing it to grow up and out.

text and images by Steve Jansen

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