The Hoax of the Lake Michigan Striped Icebergs

Not long ago I received an email showing me these gorgeous pictures of fantastic icebergs in Lake Michigan. They were some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. I was busy that day and didn’t have time to give it much thought so I saved the email, thinking to go back and possibly forward this e-mail to friends.

Later that evening, the images of those spectacular icebergs danced in my mind. I have lived in Michigan almost all my life, and I have seen the waters of Lake Michigan frozen. However, I have never seen any kind of floating icebergs like the ones I see in these pictures.

Force of the waves in Lake Michigan
Force of the waves in Lake Michigan
Winter ice on Lake Michigan
Winter ice on Lake Michigan

I recall a particularly frigid winter, on a day when the sun was shining brightly; my dad took us to the big lake. Around here, in West Michigan, when you use the term, the big lake, everybody knows it means Lake Michigan.

All other lake pales in comparison to this beautiful lake. Well, I was just a young girl back then but I do remember that dad let us walk out onto the ice and snow. It’s funny how when you recall certain memories, little things stick out as more memorable than the memory itself. This is one of those times for me.

I barely remember the towers of ice that were buckling against the shore. But I do remember the caution in my father’s voice as he warned us not to travel out too far. Some of these blocks of ice and snow were as tall as buildings.

My siblings and I were too young to realize any danger and had no idea of how easy it would be to get lost behind an ice boulder and not be able to find your way back to shore. But my dad knew the risks of this adventure and warned us all to keep the shoreline in our sights every minute we were on the ice. His tone, not the words, made that impact in my memory. Needless to say, we had a grand time without any mishaps that day.

The snow pounding against the shoreline made the news.  Although I haven’t been able to find any pictures of the amazing sights of that winter, I do have a picture of a normal Michigan winter at the shoreline.  The powerful currents of Lake Michigan are not taken lightly. As you can imagine, when large sheets of ice are rammed into the shoreline, they buckle and break up and this action causes them to pile up sort of like creating a mountain of ice rocks and that is the only picture in my head of that winter. 

So, as I look at these amazing striped icebergs, I have my doubts. Granted, Michigan had a really cold winter in 2008, when the email said these photos were taken but I couldn’t imagine these there were floating in our backyard yet never made the news, not even at the local level where our local weather guy goes nuts over anything new and unusual. Sure enough, the email and the story of these magnificent icebergs in Lake Michigan made the rounds all over the internet, yet the story is a hoax.

The pictures though, are real enough and that is why I am including them in this piece. They are gorgeous and should be shared. The true story about the mysterious icebergs is recorded by Oyvind Tangen, a Norwegian sailor. While on a research ship 660 miles north of the Antarctic, he captured these images of the majestic icebergs.

Everything about the natural beauty of this planet amazes me and I am reminded that God not only loves beauty, He created it as well. No matter how hard we try, we can not assign the natural beauty around us to our own making.

Sometimes words just do not express the majesty of it all. Many folks see the beauty of the Grand Canyon and say the view left them speechless; they just can’t find the words to express the magnitude of the splendor of what they have just seen. These icebergs are similar in that mere words can not detail the awesome wonder of their creation.

We are told that the stripes are formed as layers of ice melt and refreeze. As the ice slides down an Antarctic hillside, matter in the dust and soil debris leave their mark as the darker colors of black, brown and even yellow. The green colors form as the iceberg lands into the algae rich sea water, freezing the algae right to the edge of the ice.

Snow and ice, as we know it, are usually white due to the amount of air that is present. Tiny bubbles become trapped inside ice scattering the rays of light in all directions making the ice white.

The clear blues in these stunning photos is simply ice without the presence of air. This happens as the ice melts; water fills in the cracks and crevices and refreezes before air pockets have a chance to form.

When you put it that way it hardly sounds awesome does it? Such ordinary actions of nature cause extraordinary wonders. Their beauty belies their force and strength.

So you tell me .… Are they awesome or what?

See results without voting

Comments 50 comments

eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa


Keep on hubbing!

gramarye profile image

gramarye 6 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

I found this hub hopping and I had to read it. Good writing

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

You're right.. they're very beautiful!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks eovery, I thought they were too and wanted to share.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

gramarye, Thank you for stopping on this hub. I enjoy hub bopping as well. Thanks for the compliment.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

carolina muscle, They are magnificent aren't they? Thank you for your comment.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Oh I voted awesome because they are. I'm so glad you included all the photos - I love a good hoax by the way. Whew!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks BkCreative. I'm glad you stopped by and liked the photos.

theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

BkCreative sent me this link to this hub to read since I live in Michigan. How beautiful these but you are right....definitely not Lake Michigan. lol Fabulous hub!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Well, thank you for coming to look at them and for your comments. Michigan definitely has beautiful areas and shores and may even have an iceberg now and then, but nothing like these. The whole hoax thing made me smile.

Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

Awwwwwwwww, didn't think they were my lake, but if they were I'd have been awful sorry to have missed them! Unbelievably gorgeous!

Thank you, Kaie

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

That's funny, I secretly consider Lake Michigan my lake. :-)

Glad you liked the pictures. Thanks for your comments.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I grew up in Minneapolis and presently live in Wisconsin, so the Great lakes have always been somewhat nearby. However this sort of thing is new to me. very Interesting.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

The hoax about these icebergs being on Lake Michigan has spread across the internet. Just thought I'd help set the record straight. They are gorgeous and it sure would be fantastic to see if they ever did show up in around here but thankfully, our winters don't last long enough. Thanks for stopping by and I plan to read more of your hubs.

JoeZap 6 years ago

Awesome images! Make great a desktop

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

You're right they would, Joe. Thanks for stopping by.

Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

Gorgeous photos and a wonderful idea for a hub! Thanks for sharing such beauty.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you Rafini, The beauty of these icebergs is a gift worth sharing. Thanks for commenting.

sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Oh, your pictures are just awesome, truly. Liked your story about going out onto the ice as a child, too. In all, it was an enjoyable read.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you Sheila. Glad you stopped by commented.

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

You snuck up on me Joni Douglas,I didn't know you were following me...My big brother served on an ice breaker on the lake in the 70's while in the Coast Guard and married a girl from Michigan. Your Hub was fantastic and about to go to some of your other Hubs..!!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hope I didn't scare you sneaking up like that, Mentalist. Cold job that must have been for your brother. The winds on the lake can be horrendous. Thanks for your comments and for stopping by.

Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

I received the same pics in my email too !!! LOL. They are Amazingly Beautiful. I love all the information you have gathered,.. Awesome Hub !!!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

I knew that the pictures had been around a while but I wanted to share them anyway. They are amazing. Thank you for your kind words. Always great to meet people from Michigan.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

It would have been fun as a child to be scrambling around those frozen ice blocks on Lake Michigan. Nice memories you have!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you Peggy, most of them are good memories. Thanks for commenting.

K J Page profile image

K J Page 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

You are so right - So much to see, such breath taking beauty and the desire to lock it in to review at will complete with the all about including feelings and emotions - Really dramatic photos....

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hi K J Page, thanks for stopping by and commenting. You are so right, breathtaking is the word.

Joshua Kell profile image

Joshua Kell 6 years ago from Arizona

Lovely hub, and beautiful pics. God is amazing. Thanks.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Yes, He is Joshua. Thank you so much for commenting.

Sara Algoe profile image

Sara Algoe 6 years ago from Phoenix, Ariz

The first one looks like a giant candy...:) Ice bergs are amazing as long as they stay away from titanic.

Thank for sharing another beautiful hub.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Sara, I thought it looked like candy too. :)

They are amazing but alas, not in Michigan.

Thank you for visiting and leaving such kind remarks.

Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Wow! Great pics. Thank you for sharing

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you Granny's House for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad you liked the pics. Wish I could take credit for them but that distinction belongs to Oyvind Tangen.

Bill Reynolds 6 years ago

Thanks for this posting. Very nicely written. I just rec'd the hoax email today so it is still going around. Glad the icebergs are real.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Me too Bill. They are truly beautiful and real, just not in Lake Michigan. Not really surprised the email is still making the rounds. I thank you for checking out the truth.

Pete 6 years ago

They are neat glad you took time to let all see they are at least real. I just got an E-mail today about pics. Thank you

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Pete, thank you for your comment. I am not surprised that the email is still circulating. Glad you made to the effort to look it up for yourself. The striped icebergs are fascinating.

The Farmers Wife profile image

The Farmers Wife 6 years ago from Turkey

Very interesting and the photos are just stunning. Thank you :-)

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you The Farmers Wife. I found the story interesting too and agree with you about the pictures.

Steven Rippe 6 years ago

I received the email on 2/2011 about the "icebergs in Lake Michigan" . I studied geology and specifically glaciers as an undergraduate. I was so taken back by the photos that it was not until an hour later that i realized that these structures take thousands of years to form and could not be from Lake Michigan. My essential question: why would someone take these photos and misplace them in Lake Michigan?

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hello Steven, Thousands of years? Really! They are magnificent aren't they? As for why? I can only guess that someone just wanted some attention or wanted to scam. Who knows why people perpetrate lies and hoaxes on the internet. But I enjoyed finding out about the striped icebergs.

Dorothy Toppenberg 5 years ago

Especially appreciated your comments that "God loves beauty and HE CREATED it."

Thanks for giving credit where credit is due. AND thanks to those who captured it on film to share with everyone else.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 5 years ago Author

Absolutely Dorothy. Thanks for reading and for reminding us all of the awesome beauty of God's creations.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

LOL Great hub, Joni. I lived in Michigan until around 40 or so and I had never heard this iceberg story either. Great one. I'm even more amazed that your poll was not 100% Someone didn't think they were too awesome, LOL

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 5 years ago Author

Thank you Denise. I am glad you stopped by. The phony story has been going around in emails this past winter as well. The meteorologists in Michigan would have plastered this all over had they really been found in Lake Michigan.

Magnus Tangen 5 years ago

Lake Michigan? Well, I was the first to publish pictures of some of those icebergs but they were found by a Norwegian research vessel in Antarctic. See: and other posts on

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 5 years ago Author

Welcome Magnus. I certainly don't claim to be the first, simply one who appreciated their beauty and knew for certain that they weren't in Lake Michigan like the email claimed. I give the Oyvind Tangen, a Norwegian sailor, all the credit for these gorgeous pictures of icebergs in the Antarctic.

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

Beautiful and awesome stuff!



Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 5 years ago Author

Thanks, I'd love to take the credit, but these not my doing. They are gorgeous though.

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