More From Inside the Ice Cave
With the weather the way it has been, you'd think all of the ice would have melted by March 15th. Not so along the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan. The cool air temperatures, cold water and abundant shade provided the perfect place for some remaining shelf ice. Exploring what was left, I came upon a two foot opening in the ice and peered inside.
I found an ice cave about 10 feet long with thousands of sharp icicles hanging from the inside. The cave was illuminated by a small window at the top, through which the nearby woods could be seen.
From this cave, it's easy to see why shelf ice is so dangerous. What appeared to be a solid, 10 foot tall, by several hundred foot long block of ice, was actually hollow inside. Walking on such a thing, even in extremely cold temperatures could prove fatal. The ceiling of this ice cave was only an inch thick in places; the weight of a person would easily have broken it. Falling in at this time of year would have caused injury to the person who fell through, but if it was out over the frigid lake, the fall would be directly into the ice cold water. Even if you survived the shock of immersion in the freezing water, the unforgiving, icy walls would make the climb out impossible.