We're fortunate enough to live in a state that is beautiful year-round no matter the season. Even in the frosty frigid winters Lake Michigan can be picturesque, but it can also be dangerous. With the recent arctic blasts and more yet to come, these frigid temperatures have gifted us with some unique icy creations this season including frosted pond designs, light pillars, and giant balls of ice.

The latest weather phenomenon to pop-up on the shores of Lake Michigan are "ice volcanoes." Known to occur along Lake Superior, I didn't know we got ice volcanoes down here too! Though they may be mesmerizing, the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office warns they are also extremely dangerous and you should steer clear.

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How are Ice Volcanoes Formed?

During the winter months when shelves of ice form over Lake Michigan, the choppy turbulent waves erode it from underneath. When the waves crash below the ice, the water is then pushed up through cracks and holes in the ice. After repeated splashes a cone-like volcano shape takes form which gives it its name. Every time the water jets through the cone of ice it resembles an exploding volcano.

Why are They Dangerous?

Sgt. Jon Knott with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office Marine Division told WZZM its hard to know just what you're standing on top of when you get close enough to view these formations. He added, "One minute you could be walking on eight inches of ice, but the next you might be on one inch with snow pack on top of it."

Considering the freezing water and air temperatures, in addition to the choppy waters, Sgt. Knott says they will make every effort to attempt a recovery but, "It's extremely dangerous and very hard to recover after you fall into that water."

If you dare to venture over to the lakeshore to view these formations for yourself just make sure you do it from a safe distance and stay on sound ground, don't go up to the water line.

Frozen Lake Michigan - South Haven Feb 2021


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