Living 3 blocks from Lake Superior, I got lucky enough to see a unique phenomenon that apparently is pretty rare- It’s been a fairly warm winter, but a couple times over the past two months (January- February 2016) the air temperatures dropped below 0 F for a period of 1- 3 days, and caused the top few centimeters of the lake to freeze. The surface didn’t completely freeze over, but formed large multiple-square-kilometer sized sheets. Add in a clear day and a stiff 15-20 mph south to southwest wind, and these sheets get blown towards the shore, riding on the liquid water underneath! The amount of momentum the ice gathers is impressive, and when the ice sheets run in to obstacles (i.e. the rocky shoreline) some amazing, yet completely transient features form.
I spent a fair amount of time taking photos and video of what I’m informally naming “Ice Tectonics”- it’s a pretty great analog for thin-skinned deformation within the Earth’s crust… but on a much faster timescale!
Below I have posted a link to a short, 2-minute video of the “Ice Tectonics” I shot on 13 February 2016 (would have been longer but the wind chill was around -20 F!), and a sampling of the photos from January and February. I hope you enjoy!
IMAGE GALLERY SLIDESHOW: