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Amazing Blue Striped Lake Michigan Icebergs? Real or Urban Legend?

How cold has it been on Lake Michigan this year? So cold, some people say, that the waves freeze in mid-air to create the most beautiful icebergs you’ll ever lay eyes on. Really?

Sorry to disappoint, but this photo wasn't taken on Lake Michigan, according to snopes.com and other myth-busting sites.
Sorry to disappoint, but this photo wasn't taken on Lake Michigan, according to snopes.com and other myth-busting sites.

This is one of those stories we wish were true, because the pictures going viral on social media that claim to be “amazing blue striped Lake Michigan icebergs” are jaw-dropping, flat-out stunning.

We hate to be a spoilsport. We really do. But they’re fake.

Well, not fake, but not from Lake Michigan, either, says the urban-legend-busting site snopes.com.

“The water froze the instant the wave broke through the ice,” the story goes. “That's what it is like in Lake Michigan where it is the coldest weather in decades. Water freezes the instant it comes in contact with the air …”

Huh-uh.

The pictures may be real, Snopes allows, but they weren’t taken on Lake Michigan.

Here are the deets:

“Icebergs in the Antarctic area sometimes have stripes, formed by layers of snow that react to different conditions. Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet fills up with melt water and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form. When an iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty seawater can freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe. Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the sea.”

Not that this hasn’t been a harsh, cold winter and the ice coveing the Great Lakes doesn’t deserve a hundred or so ZIP codes of its own.

The cold that made us shake our fists and curse Skiron and the back-to-back-to-back-to-back Polar Vortexes he blew in did create a near record ice cover on the Great Lakes, but not a record, the Detroit Free Press reports.

There’s more ice than anyone’s seen in decades on the Lakes – 92.2 percent at the the peak on March 6 this winter, just shy of the record 94.7 percent in 1979.
sue kramer March 29, 2014 at 08:53 AM
We were fortunate to see the Ice Caves off Leelanau in mid February and they are stunning. Google: ice caves leelanau and you will see some beautiful pictures that are for real !
Tom Baker March 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM
The reason Ice turns blue is because of the lack of Oxygen.
Denise Nash March 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM
Duh, the narrative says "Antarctica" in the first sentence! But yes, it was very cold on all the great lakes this year. So cold that Bald Eagles were spotted on the Detroit River!

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