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!

Winter is Coming … and it might not be all that bad

Munising Ice Caves

munising ice caves/curtains, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

The Freep reports that El Niño in Pacific could mean mild Michigan winter:

Less ice on the Great Lakes would ease the freighter shipping industry’s logistical nightmares of recent winters. Less snow-melt runoff in the spring could forestall flooding that sends nutrients off farms and into Lake Erie, fueling its summer algae blooms. And deer populations that have dropped dramatically in the Upper Peninsula over recent harsh winters could begin to rebound.

…Over a century, comparing Michigan’s normal winter precipitation versus 10 El Niño events between 1915 and 1992, rain and snowfall was about 72% of normal in the Metro Detroit area during the El Niños; 78% of normal in the Thumb area, and in the 80% to 85% range of normal throughout the rest of lower Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula, according to NOAA.

You can read on for more. While that means that we might not have as much ice cave fun in Michigan this winter, I think I’m OK with an El Niño intermission!

Check Paul’s photo of this winter’s incredible ice caves on Grand Island out background bigalicious, see more in his slideshow and follow Paul Wojtkowski Photography on Facebook!

More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures!

 

Pure Michigan launches “Winter 360” Tourism Initiative

Pure-Frozen-Michigan-April-1-2015

Pure Michigan announced an exciting new tourism initiative called Winter 360 today. Spokeswoman April Phule explained:

“We all know that ice cave tourism has been really a big deal for Michigan these past few winters, but of course as soon as it melts all those ice loving tourists head to places like Siberia, the Yukon and Pellston. Pure Michigan is focused on bringing as many people as possible to the state, so our staff decided to think outside the box.

We talked with the folks at Boeing and they are loaning us a fleet of six 757s that will be outfitted with 167 specially modified Frigidaire freezers. Each will generate approximately -87,000 BTUs, enough to blanket shorelines in ice while keeping the air at Michigan’s usual balmy summer temperatures. The planes will fly designated stretches of shoreline in Grand Haven, South Haven, Muskegon, Leelanau County, Saginaw Bay, Lake St. Clair and along Grand Island in the Upper Peninsula.

We’re calling it “Winter 360” and we expect it to add $37 million to Michigan’s economy this summer!

More as we learn it.

Leaving the Land of Ice & Frost

Ice Curtains on Grand Island, Munising, MI

Ice Curtains on Grand Island, Munising, MI, photo by Carl TerHaar

Seems fitting to stay at Grand Island for another day. With a few exceptions, most of Michigan is above freezing even at this early hour, which means it’s time to say goodbye to winter and icy excursions. What a winter!!

View Carl’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his slideshow.

Haven’t had enough? There’s more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Michigan Ice Cave Collection #77: Whitefish Point Ice Cave

Whitefish Point Ice Cave by David Marvin

Whitefish Point Ice Cave, photo by David Marvin

If you’re collecting Michigan ice caves, you should know that Whitefish Point (up past the Tahquamenon Falls on Lake Superior) has ice caves right now.

View David’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his absolutely stunning Taqhamenon Falls & Whitefish Point – February 28, 2015 slideshow. (seriously, run, don’t walk to see this slideshow!) Lots more from David at his Marvin’s Gardens blog.

More winter wallpaper and more ice caves on Michigan in Pictures.

 

Ice Caves Return to Lake Michigan

Ice Caves Return

Ice Caves Return, photo by Heather Higham

With a long run of temps in the single digits and teens and the mercury way down to -11 here in Traverse City this morning, I wasn’t all that surprise to learn that ice caves and other formations are starting to form on Lake Michigan.

Ice caves off the Leelanau Peninsula last winter created a sensation that drew thousands to the Leelanau Peninsula to view some fantastic formations. While they haven’t reached that level yet, the frigid temperatures from Polar Vortex II make it likely that photographers and lovers of the outdoors could be in for another fantastic & frozen feast in 2015!

Heather writes that while she didn’t go too far afield searching for ice caves, but there’s definitely some cool stuff to be discovered along the coast. She took this Esch Road Beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. View her photo bigger on her Snap Happy Gal Facebook page and see more in her ice formations slideshow at Flickr.

More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures.