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A peculiar winter phenomenon caused waves of grapefruit-sized balls of ice from Lake Huron to wash up on the shores of Bois Blanc Island, Michigan, in December.

Ice balls form along Great Lakes, right on schedule


Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 2:27 PM - For the past several weeks the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have been inundated with thousands of ice balls and while it may look like the staging ground for an epic snowball fight, meteorologists say the formation of the boulders is actually a natural phenomenon which is known to occur each year.

The video below captured by Stacey Annelesson on Jan. 14, 2017, shows the shoreline at Port Sheldon Beach in Michigan.


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Ice balls or boulders form similarly to the way you might construct a snowman - by rolling a small snowball along the ground to let it pick up extra snow - except in this case, it's the waves of the ocean rather than your hands doing the work.

They start out as small chunks of ice in the water and then grow in size while tumbling through the waves. The cold air allows the water to freeze as the boulders get tossed in the wind.

The image below shows how a small piece of ice can grow to be the size of a grapefruit. These ice balls were photographed in Bois Blanc Island, Michigan in December by local resident Brandon Schlund.

The phenomenon was also reported in Russia along the Gulf of Ob in November.

See more photos of ice balls below.

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