TBT: Columns of Ice at the Eben Ice Cave

Eben Ice Caves March 19, 2007

Columns of Ice, Eben Ice Cave, photo by John Clement Howe.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With the rise of coronavirus, it seems to me that we could all use a little reconnection with our lovely state of Michigan, so I’m going to try to dig out some old photos and share some new ones to help keep you close to Mama Michigan as you socially distance!

This photo originally appeared March 20, 2007 and is one of a nice set titled At the Ice Cave of Eben taken in March of 2007 at the Eben Ice Caves in the Upper Peninsula near Munising. My friend Dr. John Anderton of the Northern Michigan University Department of Geography who has since passed away explained their formation:

The Eben Ices Caves are located just a few miles north of the little town of Eben, within the Rock River Canyon Wilderness Area (RRCW). The RRCW, which became a Wilderness in 1987 as a part of the Michigan Wilderness Act, is located approximately 15 miles west of the town of Munising, MI, within the Munising Ranger District of the Hiawatha National Forest. It comprises 4,460 acres and contains outstanding natural features including Rock River, Silver Creek and Ginpole Lake. Within its interior there are two short user-developed trails (totaling about 1.75 miles) leading to Rock River Falls and the Eben Ice Caves. An estimated 1,700 people visit the area annually (USFS records) …

The Ice Caves are not true caves at all. They consist of walls or vertical sheets of ice that form across the face of overhanging rock outcrops. In the summer, small unimpressive waterfalls and groundwater seeps may found along the overhangs. In the winter, however, the water hits the cold air, drips downward under the influence of gravity and freezes, creating spectacular ice caves. Each winter they look a little different, but typically there are openings in the ice that allow you to walk behind the ice walls.

The rock overhangs, where the ice caves form, consist of outcrops of Munising Formation (Cambrian) with a capstone of AuTrain Formation (Ordovician). The outcrops are found along the south side of the valley of Silver Creek, which is part of a network of secondary glacial drainage channels that formed during the Marquette Advance (about 10,000 years ago). Theses secondary drainage channels flowed easterly into the AuTrain-Whitefish Channel, a primary glacial meltwater channel that flowed south to the Lake Michigan basin. Groundwater naturally seeps from these rocks, providing the water necessary to form the ice caves in the winter.

For directions and more info, check out  Munising Ice Climbing from Travel Marquette!

13 thoughts on “TBT: Columns of Ice at the Eben Ice Cave

  1. Wow!!! that was an very welcomed unexpected text from all you Guys and Girls in the state of Michigan .I thought you had stopped sending due to lack of time or illness or monetary problems .Thank you for sending this to me in Stockport England as I am self isolating as best I can, Model Railwayers are supposed to be expert at it haha due to this Coronovirus Covid19, which now appears to be subsiding in its origin .but we have theories that this was an escaped germ warefare product from the China Government installation have perfected in that part of the world .Have you heard of that in Michigan. America even it is very worrying this kind of conjecture especially with the radio active Chinobal dust in clouds over Scotland all those years ago. Stay safe all of you over there and thanx alot once again for sending the ice photos I enjoyed the first time around now I ama 72 year old

    Liked by 1 person

  2. THANK YOU😁Love to read all about our state!! VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!!!! BLESSINGS AND STAY WELL !!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

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