Borne on the tides in hundreds, weird ice boulders have washed up on Lake Michigan’s shores. The spherical clods with dirty brown exteriors are actually made up of ice. Scientists explain that the boulders are formed when ice forms on the lake’s surface and as the waves move back and forth over the ice, it gets frozen in layers. The size then increases until the boulders form. The balls are then pushed to the shores by wind.
Presumably, the boulders are still there since the temperatures in the lake are just below freezing. The people of Michigan have found use for the boulders in play as snowballs. Locals have named them ice balls or ice boulders. The boulders seem unnatural and quite ominous but are actually a natural formation.
The boulders appear often when temperatures get this low. This is an indigenous winter formation in the region. Sometimes, the ice formations cover large areas of the lake and its shores like lumpy carpets. Only last year February, ice balls the size of a basketball also washed up in a flotilla on the shores of National Lakeshore. Other unusual formations of ice in the area include ‘icefoots’, ‘pancake ice’ and the dreaded ‘ice volcano’.
Some people in Glen Abor, a typical town in Michigan where it snowed uphill, recorded the migration of the ice balls and posted the videos and pictures on Facebook to share the event with other folks. Glen Abor is the town where the most ice balls landed.
The freezing temperatures that led to the formation of these ice boulders are brought about by the polar vortex that has hit large areas of the American continent. The effects of the polar vortex include heavy snowfall and very low temperatures, in some areas reaching well below -200celcious.