'Ice Volcanoes' Are Erupting in Michigan
Sun, April 11, 2021

'Ice Volcanoes' Are Erupting in Michigan

 

Recently, photos of “ice volcanoes” at Michigan’s Oval Beach taken and shared by National Weather Service meteorologist Ernie Ostuno went viral. In the photos, ice volcanoes can be seen spitting thousands of variably-sized ice balls and spewing slushy water out of cone-shaped mounds of ice. However, ice volcanoes aren’t real volcanoes at all. 

 

Photo Credits: Amusing Planet

 

Ice volcanoes are only a temporary product of partially-frozen lakes. Large lakes often end up rimmed by a thin halo of ice when local temperatures drop, blocking water en route to land. Tom Niziol, a contributor for Weather Underground's Category 6 blog, explained that cone-like mounds form at the edges of lakes. It forces it to spurt water to the surface after building up enough pressure beneath the ice sheet. Niziol also made it clear that the structures “are hollow and built over that hole in the ice.”

"[Ice volcanoes] can be very dangerous to climb on however because they are hollow and built over that hole in the ice. Don't ever go venturing out onto them,” he said. 

 

Photo Credits: Live Science

 

According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, ice volcanoes tend to form along shorelines where winds churn up waves consistently. Ice volcanoes are more likely to form at the Great Lakes due to their enormous size compared to than smaller lakes whose water completely freezes over in winter before much ice can build up along their beaches. 

 

Photo Credits: Live Science

 

According to Smithsonian Mag, the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution, experts also added that there are many climatic factors that need to be present for ice volcanoes to arise. “It’s almost a Goldilocks situation where you need just the right conditions over a period of time,” meteorologist Matt Benz said. 

 

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