Giant ice balls wash ashore on Lake Michigan

Photographer Ken Scott referred to the bizarre floating objects he discovered washing against the shore of Lake Michigan recently as "winter wonders," and that they may be.

But in weather terminology, they’re merely called ice balls, which sometimes grow to become ice boulders, which resemble giant floating rocks.

Scott posted the accompanying footage on New Year's Day, stating, "What a great way to send out 2014."

Since then, more ice boulders have washed ashore in the area, near Traverse City.

The phenomenon is somewhat rare in that it occurs only in certain chilly conditions. The ice balls form when broken chunks of ice tumble in waves created by strong winds. The tumbling forms the ice into balls.

But the phenomenon is not unprecedented and, according to the Weather Channel, a similar scene played out last year in Northern Michigan, at Good Harbor Bay.

This year, on New Year's Day, temperatures at Traverse City were between 24 and 30 degrees and the wind was brisk. The water temperature was about 40 degrees.

Apparently, that’s the perfect recipe of ice boulders.

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