The undulating ice balls of Lake Michigan (video)

One of the effects of the record cold we just had in Chicago – we had daytime temps of -17°F before you factor in the windchill – is the creation of ice balls in Lake Michigan.

They’re thought to be formed by the tumbling action of the waves on ice that forms on top of the water.


This video was shot on the Michigan side, in Glen Arbor.

They’re not the cleanest things ever, but it is kind of cool.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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15 Responses to “The undulating ice balls of Lake Michigan (video)”

  1. Maritimer1 says:

    Funny that some woman named Christina Ramerez has had the video removed…when the vid was shot by Suttons Bay resident Ken Scott.

  2. pappyvet says:

    “Give me your dirty love.”

  3. Alied1333 says:

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  4. I just keep thinking of a Schwetty Balls joke. “Mmm, Michigan, I love your dirty ice balls.”

  5. HelenRainier says:

    HL, that is precisely what I was trying to say but in a bass ackwards way. As I was watching the ice balls the visions of energy spewing forth in the space/time continuum popped into my head. I was beginning to think I’d been watching too many eppies of Through/Beyond the Wormhole, The Universe and assorted other shows on SC about astronomy and physics. Thanks for speaking so eloquently after I stumbled through this like a bull in a china shoppe.

  6. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Not weird. Some suspect the formation of our solar system was triggered by waves of energy moving through triggered by a nearby super nova.

  7. HelenRainier says:

    The strangest thought went through my mind as I watched this. This is definitely physics on both a large and small scale at work. Seriously now — could this be similar to the way our universe evolved as the waves of energy travelled through space/time after the Big Bang. I watch a lot of shows on the Science Channel dealing with astrophysics and how quantum energy works. I should probably just shut up because this may sound weird.

  8. Larry Harvilla says:

    Michigan resident here who knows a few things about the relationship between the Great Lakes and regional weather. It is pretty amazing what the lakes can do sometimes.

    A similar thing, albeit involving irregular chunks of ice rather than balls, has been known to happen on most of the lakes. High winds along the long axis of a lake push water from one end to the other, and the resulting seiches cause huge chunks of ice to invade shoreline residents’ back yards and even break through doors and windows. Meanwhile, the other end of the lake has to be virtually shut down to commerce because of the navigation hazard presented by the low water levels.

    This happened a few years ago near Fredonia, NY on Lake Erie, and a few years before that in Pinconning, MI on Saginaw Bay. I remember a bunch of low water warnings for the Michigan and Ohio end of Lake Erie accompanying the ice invasions at the New York end.

  9. Bill_Perdue says:

    Records, in the bad sense are being set everywhere.

    “It’s raining bats: 100,000 rotting carcasses fall from the sky during Australian heatwave – 09 JANUARY 2014 – Tens of thousands of dead bats have fallen from the sky as a “catastrophic” heatwave hits parts of eastern Australia. The RSPCA estimated that 100,000 could have died from heat exhaustion in record temperatures in southern Queensland. Spokesman Michael Beatty says the heatwave was a significant blow to the population of bats across the state. “The heatwave was basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in south-east Queensland,” he said. “That’s obviously going to have a pretty disturbing impact on those colonies and those colonies are vital to our ecosystem. The extreme heat has also killed birds and animals. In Winton, where the song “Waltzing Matilda” was written, a large number of parrots, kangaroos and emus have been found dead in the parched landscape.

  10. devlzadvocate says:

    Glen Arbor is beautiful. Nearby Glen Lake was named some time ago by National Geographic as one of the 10 most beautiful lakes in the world. The sunsets combining Glen Lake, Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear dunes are incredible.

  11. pappyvet says:

    It is as I have suspected. even an inland lake has more balls than congress.

  12. Indigo says:

    Ah, yes. The glories of Winter!

  13. Thom Allen says:

    These are NOT “ice balls!” These are proto-conservative hearts forming. I see some future Cheneys, Palins, Santorums, Perrys, Cantors, Boners and many others starting here.

  14. pricknick says:

    You have to love it here to live here. Pure Michigan.

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