You know it’s cold when the snowballs are so big they look prehistoric.
The rounded ice boulders on the shore of Lake Michigan caught the attention of the Web when North Michigan resident Leda Olmstead posted pictures of them on Facebook. They proceeded to go viral.
Olmstead, who lives near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, walks in the area frequently with her dogs. She first noticed the snowballs-on-steroids last week and snapped some photos.
"I thought it was the coolest thing ever especially since I've never seen anything like it," Olmstead told local station WZZM13. "I have a small English bulldog, and they were as tall as her. They were pretty massive." She estimated that hundreds of snow boulders stretched for about 100 feet along the lakeshore.
While the ice balls seem to be an oddity, there's an explanation. Sleeping Bear Park Ranger Amie Lipscomb told Michigan Live they're created thanks to a combination of wind, water and waves.
"The rounded ice forms the same way the rounded and smooth stones that wash up on the beach form: Chunks of ice break off from the large sheets that form over Lake Michigan," Lipscomb said. "Waves tumble and pummel the ice, rounding and smoothing edges. The waves then wash the boulders up on shore."
"People think it's so boring and gross up here in the winter," Olmstead told WZZM13. "But I think it's beautiful."
- Nature & Environment