Circulating email about ice waves near Mackinaw City not really true
Every winter for about the past three or four years around this time of year, I get numerous emails and questions regarding a picture on the internet that shows an impressive ice formation that apparently is from the Straits of Mackinac. After getting a number of people wanting a story on it, I felt the need to write and "debunk" the erroneous information attached to the pictures.
One version of the email says "Mother Nature doing her thing! Amazing pictures up around Mackinac Island!!! Michigan has had the coldest winter in decades. Water expands to freeze, and at Mackinaw City the water in Lake Huron below the surface ice was supercooled. It expanded to breakthrough the surface ice and froze into this incredible wave. This wave phenomena occurs in Antarctica, but in Michigan? Yes, it's been quite a winter!"
The pictures attached to this story show the supposed ice formations and frozen in time waves somewhere near Mackinaw City. The actual pictures themselves are very impressive.
However, these pictures were taken in Antarctica in 2002 by photographer Tony Travouillon and the formation of these ice features has nothing to do with waves being frozen in place. These pictures are from ice that has been compacted and then uplifted by glacial action. The ice is then shaped by wind and other elements. If as described in the email, the waves suddenly froze in place, ice that froze suddenly is rather cloudy and opaque and would not be colored the way this ice is in a brilliant shade of blue.
While we certainly do get great ice formations and it has been a colder winter than as of late, these pictures are not from the Great Lakes region or even this hemisphere.