Aqua Ice by Charles Bonham
There hasn’t been much in the way of ice buildup yet on Michigan’s Great Lakes so far in 2021, so I decided to reach back a couple of years to March of 2019 for this beauty from Au Gres on Lake Huron. The Causes of Color answers the question what causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice?
As with water, this color is caused by the absorption of both red and yellow light (leaving light at the blue end of the visible light spectrum). The absorption spectrum of ice is similar to that of water, except that hydrogen bonding causes all peaks to shift to lower energy – making the color greener. This effect is augmented by scattering within snow, which causes the light to travel an indirect path, providing more opportunity for absorption. From the surface, snow and ice present a uniformly white face. This is because almost all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back, without any preference for a single color within the visible spectrum.
The situation is different for light that is not reflected, but penetrates or is transmitted into the snow. As this light travels into the snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light. If the light is to travel over any distance it must survive many such scattering events. In other words, it must keep scattering and not be absorbed. We usually see the light coming back from the near surface layers (less than 1 cm) after it has been scattered or bounced off other snow grains only a few times, and it still appears white.
In simplest of terms, think of the ice or snow layer as a filter. If it is only a centimeter thick, all the light makes it through; if it is a meter thick, mostly blue light makes it through. This is similar to the way coffee often appears light when poured, but much darker when it is in a cup.
Definitely check out more in Charles’ excellent Michigan Winter Ice gallery on Flickr.
Restore Your Spirit by Lisa Flaska Erickson Photography
“Take time in a place you love, restore your spirit on the beach.”
An excellent piece of advice, particularly in these dark times. Fortunately, all of Michigan’s Great Lakes beaches are open to the public for walking by law, and you are never more 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes!
Lisa took this photo on Lake Huron on the beach by 40 Mile Point Lighthouse. For more pics, follow her on Facebook or on her Instagram @supqueen.
PS: If you want to “virtually restore” check out many more Michigan beaches on Michigan in Pictures.
Wreck of the Nordmeer by Chris Roxburgh
The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary page on the 471′ cargo freighter Nordmeer that wrecked in 1966 in Thunder Bay says:
The career of the motorship Nordmeer ended abruptly when it miscalculated a turn and ran aground 7 miles northeast of Thunder Bay Island. Some crewmen stayed on board, but they evacuated a few days later when a storm struck and tore open the ship’s bottom. Part of the vessel stands out of the water, but years of storms and ice have broken and twisted the hull. The big diesel engine stands amid the wreckage, but the cargo has been removed. A steel barge rests alongside the wreck, a relic of extensive salvage work. Some artifacts may be seen today at NOAA’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.
Chris dove the wreck a week ago and writes: “Bea and I had a big day of diving in Lake Huron today. We visited three shipwrecks and can’t wait to share some photos. This picture is the engine from the Nordmeer shipwreck near Rockport Michigan.”
Definitely follow Chris’s adventures on Facebook & check out his videos YouTube!
Tons more Michigan shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures!
Lake Huron by Kare Hav
Gorgeous shot from the other day on Michigan’s east coast. See more in Karen’s dynamite Pt. Lookout/Au Gres gallery on Flickr & have a wonderful weekend!
More from Lake Huron on Michigan in Pictures.
Turnip Rock in clear water by DjOOF
The excellent sunrise side blog Thumbwind explains that Turnip Rock in Lake Huron can only be reached by kayak or canoe & share some tips for would-be explorers:
Paddling to Turnip Rock is not hard. Located at the tip of the thumb, it’s about a four hour round trip from Port Austin. This small guide offers a local point of view to avoid problems with the local law enforcement and property owners while being able to enjoy a unique natural wonder.
Despite its uniqueness, this natural wonder is located in the Pointe Aux Barques Cottage Community and is private land. Thus the only way to access it is from the water. Fortunately, that can easily be achieved by canoe or kayak. This means that you can’t go feet dry. Stay in the water. The area around the rock is monitored and even the topic of an Instagram account. If you must get out of our kayak stay as close to the water’s edge as possible. (Unless its an emergency)
During the weekends the number of paddlers can get quite large. If the area around the rock is crowded consider paddling a few hundred yards past the rock and view the overhangs and cave features that border the Pointe Aux Barques community. During the late 1800s, the cave were hideouts for fugitives. It’s worth taking a few minutes to explore. You may be tempted to get out of your kayak and climb the rocks for a view. This is a no-no and there are several signs reminding not to trespass.
Read on for lots more, and if you happen to take any pictures, consider sharing them in our Michigan in Pictures Group on Facebook!
DjOOF writes that they made it past Turnip rock and captured this view on the way back. See more in their Google Nest Pics album on Flickr. Also check out their shot of one of the smuggler’s caves referred to above!
American White Pelicans on Lake Huron by kare hav
The photographer writes that it’s hard to believe that there’s pelicans in Michigan, but here they are. In an in-depth Great Lakes Echo feature, Eric Freedman writes that American White Pelicans are expanding their breeding range in Michigan & North America:
The species “is undergoing a dramatic expansion of its breeding range in North America,” the study published in the journal Ontario Birds said. “The nesting on Lake Erie, so far from the colony sites in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, seems unusual. Why such a large dispersal from the nearest breeding colony 550 km (340 miles) away?”
Now they’re spreading eastward.
…That distance “is and is not unusual,” said study co-author D.V. Chip Weseloh, a retired Great Lakes waterbird specialist with the Canadian Wildlife Service. “Pelicans are strange birds and will range far and wide hundreds of miles to feed,” a feat documented with radio transmitters.
With its 9-foot wingspan, the American white pelican is one of North America’s largest birds and feeds primarily on fish, according to the Audubon Society.
The overall population declined through the first half of the 1900s but has grown substantially since the 1970s. It’s protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List categorizes it as a species of least concern.
Lots more in the Echo!
View more in Kare Hav’s Pt. Lookout/Augres gallery on Flickr.
Precarious by Mark Swanson
mLive reports that the six-month water level forecasts show a high-end forecast that could surpass all other modern water levels for some of the Great Lakes:
For the last three months, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron (which shares the same lake water level because they are linked) have set monthly record water levels. The monthly record water levels are expected to continue into summer. If we get significantly higher than usual precipitation, the water levels could slosh over the highest level ever recorded since good water level measurements began back in 1918.
…The upper end of the possible outcomes would take Lake Michigan and Lake Huron 5 inches higher than October 1986, the highest water level recorded since records began in 1918. July or August of this coming summer would be the months that could happen.
That would be a devastating high-water level for cities and beaches along the Lake Michigan and Lake Huron shoreline.
Remember one inch of water on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is 800 billion gallons of water. If this summer’s water level reaches that upper end, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron would have 4 trillion gallons more water than the highest water level recorded by in the fall of 1986.
Read on for more about Lakes Superior (probably not dangerously high) and Erie & Ontario (also likely to be dangerously high).
Mark took this in February near Stevensville on Lake Michigan. See more in his Final 60 album.
Bay City Blue Ice, photo by Great Lakes Drone Works
Great Lakes Drone Works captured some awesome shots from the ice on Saginaw Bay near Bay City. They write:
We made our way out to Bay City State Park to capture some images of these huge chunks of ice. At first we were hoping drone photos would be the way to go but after walking around and getting up close, it was clear that ground photography was the better option.
Blue ice occurs when weather conditions — such as a lack of high winds — allow water to freeze slowly and evenly, resulting in ice composed of large crystals (unlike snow, which is formed quickly and made up of small crystals).
When light hits these big ice crystals, it can travel deep into the structures (compare this to snow, wherein light hits a sharp edge and reflects off of it right away, resulting in blinding white). When the light travels deeper into slowly formed ice, some of the red wavelengths of sunlight — which is the longest wavelength of visible light — get absorbed into the ice structure.
The blue, which is the shortest wavelength of visible light, bounces back out, meet our eyes, and results in a deep aqua color.
Head over to their Facebook for more shots and get lots more icy goodness at the ice tag on Michigan in Pictures!
Beneath the Waves of Thunder Bay, photo by US National Marine Sanctuaries
Emily Bingham of mLive said that she created this list of Amazing Michigan places because “One of my favorite geeky things is meeting someone from out of state and showing them a photo of, say, Grand Portal Point or Empire Bluffs and hearing them say “THAT’s in Michigan?!” So then I decided, hey, how about I just publish a list so I have all my favorite brag-worthy Michigan spots in one place on the internet?? And voila.”
Voila indeed – definitely check this out. The photos of the twelve locations she picked are STUNNING! Here’s what she wrote about the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary:
Located in Lake Huron just off the coast of Alpena, this 4,300-square-mile protected area is one of the most significant shipwreck preserves in the entire country. More than 100 shipwrecks have been found here, making it an exciting destination for divers from all over the world.
Click through for 11 more plus a whole bunch of great photos from each of the places!
View the photo bigger on Instagram and definitely follow NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries for all kinds of pics of the wonderful world beneath the waves!
Gravelly Shoals offshore Light in Saginaw Bay, photo by George Thomas
The entry on Gravelly Shoal Light at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light begins:
Point Lookout juts from the shore on the western shore of Lake Huron, approximately half-way between the mouth of the Saginaw River and Tawas Point. With only five to eighteen feet above it, Gravelly Shoal extends some 3 miles southeasterly from Point Lookout towards Big Charity Island. To help guide down-bound vessels headed for Saginaw Bay through the deeper water lying between the southeast end of Gravelly Shoal and Big Charity Island, Congress appropriated $5,000 to construct a lighthouse on the northwestern shore of Big Charity on August 18, 1856. Work began at the site that year, but as a result of being started so late in the season, the station was not completed and lighted until the following year.
Perhaps as a result of its exposed location, or as a result of its keeper’s dwelling being one of the few of wooden frame construction on any of the Great Lakes, the station was a constant source of maintenance problems, and was not surprisingly one of the first to be automated through the installation of an acetylene illumination system in 1900. At this time an occulting white Pintsch gas buoy was also placed at the southeastern end of Gravelly Shoal to better mark the western edge of the passage between the shoal and Big Charity Island.
As a result of the combination of increasing vessel size, improvements in offshore light construction and the growing adoption of radio direction finding equipment, it became plain in the late 1930’s that the old Charity light and the gas buoy on Gravelly Shoal had outlived their usefulness, and consideration turned to the construction of a state-of-the-art offshore aid to navigation at the eastern end of Gravelly Shoal to better mark the deeper water of the passage.
View the photo background big and see more in George’s Lighthouses slideshow.
More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.