Shelf Ice along the Dunes

Winter along the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan produces mounds of shelf ice. The mounds here are over 8 feet tall at the shore, and most likely around 15 to 20 feet tall at the water's edge, but I'm not venturing out any further to find out. Here I'm standing on a small mound of shelf ice, but since I know the area, I know that the water beneath the ice is only about one foot deep.

It's very inviting to attempt to walk out over the mounds to the water's edge where the waves pound the ice and send water and chunks of ice 30 feet into the air. While the ice may be 15 feet thick in some places, it may only be 1/2 inch thick a step away. The weight of a small child could break the ice, plunging him to the freezing, churning water 15 feet below, with no chance of climbing up the ice to get out.

The ice is breathtakingly beautiful - especially in person, but it should be observed from the safety of the shore.

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