When ice attacks

I have not seen anything like this or even heard about it but it appears that weather conditions can be such that a thick carpet of ice can inexorably march from lakes onto land. It looks like a creeping monster, pushing aside even buildings in its path. It is called an ‘ice shove’ and scientists are familiar with the phenomenon and say it happens on occasion in places like Alaska.

It looks very much ike a mudslide except that it is moving horizontally and is more solid. There is something weirdly compelling about watching it, like watching a slow motion car crash. It gives one a sense of the unstoppable power of natural forces and what glacier motion speeded up might look like.

Below is one ice shove that was captured receently in Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota.


  1. says

    Dunc (#4) –

    Anybody else suddenly got the theme from “The Blob” in their heads?

    Nah. I was thinking “American Werewolf in London” and the special effects. Remember the hair growing out of the werewolf’s arm? It was done by pulling hair out of a prosthetic arm and playing the film backwards. The ice coming on shore had that surreal quality, you expect it to recede, not advance.

  2. NitricAcid says

    I was wondering how long it would take for those glass doors to shatter from the ice leaning on it…sure enough, at the end of the clip….

  3. robb says

    I think that video is from last year. I just checked the youtube post date, and it is from last May. Still, it is very impressive.

    I am in MN and have never seen that before. the only thing close is the ice coming in to Duluth on Lake Superior. It made huge piles just off shore, 10 feet or more. I think. It has been about 30 years since I saw it! In any case, it *didn’t* come creeping up onto shore like from some horror movie!

  4. Matt G says

    There is something very Dr. Who-esque about this, though I cannot recall any ice monsters….

    I was once attacked by ice when I was a student at Oberlin. I was walking home from a party through the town square. I don’t know how it snuck up on me, or what sort of Kung Fu it used, but I was on my back before I knew what hit me.

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