Mysterious ice formations appeared in Chicago this week | Chicago News


Ice formations in Lake Michigan in Chicago taken by Sharan Banagiri. He told CNN these photos were taken at Loyola Beach in Rogers Park, about 10 miles north of downtown Chicago. (Credit: Sharan Banagiri)

(CNN) — You’ve heard of blizzards and maybe even the polar vortex, but have you heard of frozen pancakes? What about ice pitting or ice jams? These unique names sound fascinating but require specific weather conditions.

This week, ice pancakes were found along the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Sharan Banagiri’s photos were taken at Loyola Beach at Rogers Park about 10 miles north of downtown. Banagiri told CNN these photos were taken on a walkway leading to a lighthouse. Banagiri noted that the temperature at the time the photos were taken was around 21 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Great Lakes ice cover is currently at 21.9% which is the highest (tied with 2019) for this date in the last six years. Lake Michigan also hovers around about 20% ice cover, near the average to date.

This time of year, due to freezing temperatures across much of the northern United States, features such as ice cream pancakes, ice cream bites, and ice cream scoops appear.

Glazed pancakes, just like their namesake, look exactly what you think they would – flat round discs made of ice cream. They are common in the Arctic, but generally don’t start showing up in the lower 48 states until temperatures drop well below freezing for several days.

The phenomenon is strictly limited to water bodies such as rivers, lakes or oceans.

Once these water masses are cold enough, the chunks of ice that have started to form will bump into each other forming elliptical-shaped discs with rounded edges.

“A characteristic feature of pancake ice is raised edges or ridges on the perimeter, caused by pancakes colliding with each other from ocean waves,” said the The National Snow and Ice Data Center explains.

Ryan Alioto also took advantage of the cold temperatures crossing the Great Lakes region by taking photos and video with his drone on Thursday as he flew over Lake Michigan in Chicago. He told CNN that when he took the images, the temperature was around 17 degrees.

Other phenomena such as ice balls, ice jams and even ice pits can also be seen in and along the Great Lakes during the winter months.

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