Along the shores of Lake Erie in recent weeks, fierce winds have pushed blocks of ice on top of each other, the blocks stacking on each other until they begin to tumble forward, a crawling mass of ice surging from the water’s edge. Called an “ice tsunami” or an “ice shove” these are rare events, but not unheard of, and have been studied since at least the 19th century. But still, a 30-foot wall of ice moving as if determined to escape a near-frozen lake is unsettling, if beautiful. But also incredibly destructive in the wrong place. The ice tsunamis form when frozen chunks of a lake begin to thaw enough to loosen them into blocks, then powerful winds start to blow them into a giant pile. “The first slabs or sheets move on shore, creating a traffic jam, with ice piling on top and behind,” meteorologist Matt Grinter told Weather Network. “With the buildup of ice, and the power behind it, it has the potential to damage anything in its path.” Fort Erie, Canada, has recently seen an army of ice blocks march on their waterfront. The strangeness of this winter continues.

 

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