Hundreds of Bizarre ‘Ice Balls’ form on Lake Michigan

by | March 1, 2013 at 9:40 AM | General

In an otherworldly scene, hundreds of giant balls of ice – or in some cases “ice boulders” – are washing up along the shores of Lake Michigan.

While the phenomenon is nothing new, observers are noting that the oblong chunks of ice seem especially large this winter. Some reportedly weigh over 50 pounds.

The strange sight, which in some places includes hundreds of yards of shoreline littered with the spectacular ice balls, is attracting curious nature observers and local TV reporters.

In one clip, a reporter from UpNorthLive.com struggles to lift one the ice balls during a segment on the arrival of the odd-looking ice:

In another clip, Leda Olmstad, of Cedar, Michigan, marvels at discovering hundreds of “amazing” ice balls stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s her Facebook photos that have helped draw attention to the bizarre scene – bringing her calls from media outlets ranging from the New York Daily News to the Weather Channel.

Below, a meteorologist from NBC affiliate 7&4 News explains that the ice balls occur when the lake’s water is just below freezing. As chunks of ice form in layers, wind and currents round them – not unlike a rock on river bottom – until they get blown onto shore.