You must have heard about volcanic eruptions and its aftereffects. But have you heard of ice volcanoes? Sounds weird? See how these ice volcanoes erupted in lake Michigan.
An interesting phenomenon has been recorded on the shores of Lake Michigan. While walking on Oval beach on the eastern shore, an employee of the NWS Grand Rapids captured a few amazing photos of water coming out from mounds in the ground.
It was a great day to visit the beach and watch the waves interact with the ice. Here's a couple "ice volcanoes" erupting at Oval Beach on Sunday, February 16, 2020. #miwx #wmiwx pic.twitter.com/B0Vkl18RrN— NWS Grand Rapids (@NWSGrandRapids) February 16, 2020
You never know what you'll find at the lake until you go out there. Today it was volcanoes. Here's a close up: pic.twitter.com/FLZqDZ1d8U— NWS Grand Rapids (@NWSGrandRapids) February 16, 2020
These ice volcanoes are formed at the edge of the ice shelf. They require cool temperature, ice, and surf to form an ice volcano. Small waves could cause the energy of the waves to concentrate and to form larger waves that eject spatter onto the ice shelf at certain places.
If the air is cold enough, then the water freezes over the surrounding ground and forms mini volcanoes. A lot of climatic factors are required for this structure to arise. Ice volcanoes are informally called as cryovolcano.
Matt Benz, a meteorologist for AccuWeather, said,
"It’s almost a 'Goldilocks' situation where you need just the right conditions over a period of time to get these [formations] to develop."
Cort Spholten, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Grand Rapids, said:
"Ice volcanoes occur in locations in which waves hit accumulated ice on the shoreline with some force."
“We were cold enough to form ice on the shore of Lake Michigan, and water had broken the surface of that ice. The waves ... were strong enough so the water channels through, it squeezes water upwards and tosses the floating ice up. As it happens, over the course of hours or days, it forms a cone, and it resembles a volcano."
Meteorologist Tom Niziol, formerly of the Weather Channel and NWS said,
“They form as water is pushed under the ice sheet and as the pressure builds up the water shoots out through holes in the ice. If its very cold, then that spray freezes up eventually building a cone like the ones we see here.”
Ice volcanoes are usually formed near land and are observed in successive rows. They are almost of equal height and spacing. They range in height from one meter to ten meters. The largest one is noticed far from the shore. Spacing between the volcanoes is determined by the direction of waves.
The formation of an ice volcano is temporary, as it could be destroyed by warm weather. It attracts several visitors but could be dangerous as people may fall or slip into the cold lake. You would be surprised to know that ice volcanoes are used by snowy owls as a hunting platform to search for prey like waterfowl.
Several people reacted to the tweet after it went viral on the internet.
Probably the most fascinating winter phenomena on the Great Lakes, besides lake-effect snow????— Nick Dewhirst (@nick_dew123) February 16, 2020
Wow ????. I’ve never seen anything like this. Wonderful.— Camilla Hiley (@CamHiley) February 17, 2020
That's so unbelievably awesome!— Martha Isley (@MarthaIsley1) February 18, 2020
Those are some of the best ice volcano photos I have seen, I have seen them on the east end of Lake Erie as well!!— Tom Niziol (@TomNiziol) February 16, 2020
Very cool.— Marti Reed (@homegypsy) February 18, 2020
When you know that volcanoes on earth eject molten rocks, there also exist volcanoes in the solar system that eject substances like ammonia, methane, and water. Evidence of these ice volcano has been recorded on Titan, Ceres, and Pluto.
Ice volcanoes are usually found in arcs along the shoreline. Michigan Tech considered these structures as cold spot and found them as-
“Nearly symmetrical single cones that apparently are not related to the shoreline, sand bar or rock reef arcs."
Volcanoes are the most frightening wonder of nature. Have you seen ice volcanoes? If, not then here’s a chance to capture this bizarre phenomenon at Lake Michigan. This unusual phenomenon is also observed on the southern coast of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie when the temperature is below the freezing point. Here are other frightening active volcanoes in the world.
But it would depend on where you stand to observe this phenomenon. Don’t forget to share your reaction after seeing them.
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