The almost endless shelf ice mounds have all but disappeared, and liquid Lake Michigan is once again a reality. This winter hid that water under ice as far as the eye could see. Walking northeast along Washington Park Beach in Michigan City, Indiana, we encountered the last bit of shelf ice. The ice extended the length of the shore to the horizon, could this have been the southern extent of the ice that day? No more ice south, only north? It's possible. This little remnant of winter gave us the unusual opportunity to safely investigate the shelf ice up close. It was safe since the water was only about a foot deep at the end! It was still dramatic, and interesting to see the formations, as well as the physics behind pancake ice. The small waves pushed floating ice against some recesses in the shelf ice, so the ice would hit and spin, hit and spin, rounding the edges to form "pancakes." I'm pretty sure this is all but a memory now.....four days later.
Posted by Tom Gill at Thursday, April 10, 2014