Children and Shelf Ice
By Pam Henderson
If you’ve wandered up to the lakefront at Washington Park recently, you might have felt like you were transported to Greenland. The shelf ice along Lake Michigan’s lakeshore has again blessed us with a magnificent glacial-looking seascape. Almost as far as the eye can see is a blanket of white; and, if you listen closely, you can hear the waves lapping against the icy shoreline.
Yet, the majestic shelf ice is as dangerous as it is beautiful. The shelf ice creates the illusion that it is deep like a glacier. One can’t tell where the sand ends and the water begins. The shelf ice, though, is actually part of the shoreline, not the bed of the Lake. As a result, it is not supported by a stationary piece of land. The constant motion of the waves, along with the extreme temperatures and winds that whip around from every direction, help the shelf ice to be an ever-changing phenomenon.