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Gingersnap
02-09-2011, 01:53 PM
Ice volcanoes attract curious explorers to Lake Michigan shore

Gary Porter

http://i55.tinypic.com/245g8pd.jpg
Patti Bailie, director of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center preschool, helps Zack Durand out of an ice volcano, or ice-cano, at the nature center last winter.
Experts warn to explore formations with caution

By Karen Herzog of the Journal Sentinel

Feb. 6, 2011 |(7) Comments

Winter enthusiasts have been flocking to Bradford Beach, the Doctors Park beach and other spots along the Lake Michigan shoreline since last week's blizzard to check out a bizarre lunar landscape of craters, boulders and rounded mounds carved from the shoreline ice shelf by wind and waves.

Many are climbing inside ice volcanoes - ice cones several feet high that form along the lake when waves force water up through the ice.

"It's pretty cozy in here; I'm not going to lie," said Marna Lamson, 24, of Milwaukee, as she huddled inside an ice volcano close to shore. "It's very sheltered from the elements. The bottom is snow and ice."

While they may be fascinating to explore, naturalists warn that ice volcanoes also can be treacherous. Even if they're not spouting water because the mouth that links them to the lake has frozen over, volcano bases can quickly change from snow and ice to water, depending on conditions.

Ice shelves also can break apart unexpectedly with changes in temperature and wave action, said Don Quintenz, director of education at the Schlitz Audubon Center in Bayside.

"You can fall through the ice, so you have to be very careful," he said. "I've studied the ice, and I'm still amazed by how fast things can get soft, and what was solid becomes unsolid."

Shoreline ice shelves may be frozen to the lake bottom, or water could be moving beneath them. Sometimes, it's hard to tell, Quintenz said.

He will lead a Feb. 17 hike exploring ice volcanoes (also called ice-canoes) and ice caves along the nature center's shoreline.

Ice volcanoes like the ones at Bradford Beach and Schlitz Audubon Nature Center are rare, Quintenz said. They're found only along beaches with relatively high amounts of wave energy from the lake, he said.

JS Online (http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/115448834.html)

Rockntractor
02-09-2011, 02:03 PM
Breathing is dangerous, I'm sure there are more deaths caused by rabid bunnies every year than from kids playing in ice volcanoes.