What's Afoot With Mother Nature? Rare 'Pancake Ice' Phenomenon Appears in Lake Michigan

Pancake ice - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.01.2022
Ice pancakes are a rare natural phenomenon caused by a host of factors, including freezing temperatures, high wave action, and certain wind conditions. Even though they are most frequently seen around Antarctica, the phenomenon can sometimes delight those lucky individuals living near the Great Lakes in the US and Canada.
Mysterious ice formations resembling frozen pancakes have been spotted in various parts of Lake Michigan near Chicago.
The pancake ice forms can been seen at Rainbow Beach on Lake Michigan's South Shore as the Great Lakes region in the US remains in the grip of cold weather.
Andrea Vander Woude of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, says that pancake ice is a "really interesting" natural phenomenon given that it needs a specific temperature to form.

She explains that such ice "usually forms just right below freezing, and in areas that have a little bit of wave action".

According to her, there are at least two major factors that significantly add to the emergence of these icy formations, a phenomenon that is strictly limited to bodies of water, like lakes, rivers as well as seas and oceans.
Floating ice is seen during the expedition of the The Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship at the Arctic Ocean - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.12.2020
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"It'll form on water that's covered with a little bit of slush, and then it slowly forms those pancakes circles that you see. Or it can be from […] breaking of the ice, and high wave action and wind conditions", the researcher points out.

Even though such icy formations are certainly easy to identify, the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre recalls that "a signature feature of pancake ice is raised edges or ridges on the perimeter, caused by the pancakes bumping into each other from the ocean waves".
Scientists point out that while ice pancakes are not uncommon in the Arctic and Antarctica, they only began appearing in the Great Lakes due to severe cold snaps.
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