Be Careful When You Walk the Beach

January 22, 2012


Ice Ridges Formed by Wind and Waves

It’s a typical January day at the beach in West Michigan. Blown in by northwest winds, wave after wave smashes against ice ridges on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Ice balls bounce and roll—their clattering sound mingles with the swoosh of the spray and the roar of wind and waves.  Children who built sand castles on this beach in the summer now look in wonder at the fantastic shapes wind and waves have carved.  It looks as though a giant ice troll had been playing there, heaping mounds of ice, gouging out ice caverns, grottos and deep crevices then smoothing off ice shelves.  Perhaps another troll came along and smashed some of the ice into huge shards that clink together in the water like pieces of a broken plate glass window.


Quirks of wind, waves and the configuration of the lake bottom cause the shore ice to change from day to day and even change from minute to minute.  It seems as if a sleight of hand magician were playing tricks with water, wind and ice.


One of these tricks is to strand wildlife, dogs or people on a floating cake of ice.  This happens when pack ice, floating pieces of ice compacted against the solid ice ridge, is blown out in the lake again by an east wind.  So be careful if you are going to the beach.



One Response to “Be Careful When You Walk the Beach”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: