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Ice caves form on Lake Michigan


LEELANAU CO. -- "It's sights I've never seen before in
all my life - and I've traveled the world 'round," said Tom Auch, a
teacher at Northwestern Michigan College.

Just north of Leland in Leelanau County, ice caves have formed along the eastern side of Lake Michigan.

The
caves are formed by the wind and wave action, westerly winds push
slushy ice up along the shoreline. Layer after layer freezes on top of
each other, and forms huge piles of ice. Some of them reach thirty feet
high.

"When the sun comes out it's just
these beautiful hues of blue," said George Meredith, of Traverse City.
"It's a magic wonderland."

Waves then carve
out spectacular crevices and the freezing spray creates icicle-like
formations. Once the wind calms, more sheet ice is formed on the water.
When the wind picks back up, the waves shove the broken ice pieces
together, creating an jagged angular ice sheet. It's flat enough that
you can walk on to see the caves.

"These are
something special, I've never seen anything like it, they were as big
as a garage, cliffs of 20-30 feet," said Auch. "It was pretty special."

"For
all intents and purposes, it looks like you're on one of the polar ice
caps," Meredith added.  "There's just huge looming pieces of ice, sheets
of ice like gigantic sheets of glass, and there's just miles and miles
of these caves offshore that you can explore."

The
caves are about half a mile from land. If you're thinking about making
the trek, anyone can do it. Ask the Heitman family who was out on the
ice Wednesday. The family of four took advantage of the neat ice
formations to have a fun, out-of-the-box learning experience.


Source: WGTU


Ice caves form on Lake Michigan

Friday, February 14 2014, 12:09 PM EST

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