“What’s That?” Wednesday: Ice Volcanoes

We welcome Kim back again today to share a very unusual nature find discovered on the shores of Lake Ontario.

From Kim:

On a hike recently, our family was surprised to find “ice volcanoes”. We had never seen them before, but my husband knew exactly what they were after hearing about them on the news a few weeks earlier. These mounds of ice and snow form annually along the shores of Lake Ontario as long as a unique set of conditions are set, including the right temperature, wind direction and wave direction.

Read on to find out a bit more about ice volcanoes as well as to download printable sheets of useful photos and information about them. Each Wednesday, check the bottom of the “What’s That?” post to find a PDF containing a fact sheet about the day’s featured item, as well as photographs and other resources ideal for using in a nature journal, research binder, or lap book.

ice volcanos




Some interesting things to know about ice volcanoes:

– The mounds can range from small mound of ice to house-sized formations.
– The mounds are built up by waves crashing at the edge of the ice, or sometimes driving under the ice and then breaking through a crack to the air above.
– The lake bottom topography is also a factor in their formation.
– As the icy water spews up through a crack it falls back down, freezing and eventually building up a volcano like structure. Water will continue to spew upwards out of the volcano until it is cold enough that the opening freezes.
– Caution should be used if climbing them as their thickness can vary, and they could collapse.
– In some areas snowy owls have been known to use the tops of the mounds as a hunting platform.

Click here to download the ice volcano nature journal resource pages to use with your own family.

4 comments… add one

  • taryn oakley March 12, 2014, 9:57 am

    very cool!

  • Melanie March 12, 2014, 1:52 pm

    That’s very cool! I’ve never heard of this before, but am now really keen to go on an ice volcano hunt!

  • Appleshoe March 12, 2014, 10:08 pm

    That is so neat! I’ve never heard of this before.
    What a neat thing to be able to see. Be well.

  • tamara March 17, 2014, 8:31 am

    Yes, I too have to say that is super cool! Nature is amazing!

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