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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.
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.