Strange sand sculptures emerging from the beach on the shores of Lake Michigan caught the eye of at least two photographers in early January, who posted images of naturally crafted wonders online.
But what are these sand statues and how were they born?
Their structure depends on several factors, such as sand-to-water content and wind conditions, says Daniel Bonn, a physicist at the University of Amsterdam and director of the Van der Waals Zeeman Institute.
According to nature photographer Terry Abbott, who lives in northern Indiana, the pillars vary in height, ranging in height from 3 to 20 inches (7.6 to 51 centimeters). Abbott visited Tisconia Park in St. Joseph, Michigan on January 8th. I noticed the stunning shape of the snow-covered beach.
“Lying on the ground and shooting through these sculptures, it looked like another planet,” Abbott told Live Science in a Facebook message. “They were frozen and difficult to touch. The complex and very sharp edges made them amazing in their own way.”
Abbott has never seen such a sculpture. “I couldn’t believe how perfectly they were carved,” she added.
Freezing Michigan winter According to Bonn, a principal investigator in the journal’s study “How to Build a Perfect Sand Castle,” temperatures helped prepare for the formation of bizarre chess-like works. Scientific Reports In 2012.
“Roughly speaking, I think there’s a liquid patch where the sand freezes when it cools,” Bonn told Live Science in an email. He said the coast is a windy place. When a sandy wind blows into these frozen patches, two seemingly contradictory actions occur. One is that some of the sand grains can attach to the frozen patch and grow. “This creates a nearly cylindrical, solid sand castle-like structure,” says Bonn.
In another example, the wind and the sand it carries erode the pillars of sand, removing the sand and “leading to the asymmetrical shape of the rings and cylinders,” Bonn said.
Some of the sand eroded from these pillars ends up elsewhere on the beach. In some photos, “you can see that there is a leeward point-like structure due to the sandblasting of the cylinder,” he said.
Southwestern Michigan-based photographer Joshua Nowicki encountered the same sand pillar at Tiscornia Park on January 7th and 8th. Noviki, who has seen similar sand structures before, said that, although rare, these pillars can occur at any time. Year, “when there is damp sand and strong winds continue for several days”. In most cases, “when the sand freezes (rain, thaw, spray from breaking waves), the height is only a few inches higher,” Novicki told Live Science by email.
The sand sculpture he saw this year is “some of the tallest I’ve ever taken, the largest being about 15 inches. [38 cm] It’s tall and a few inches in diameter, “Nowicki said.
Most pillars do not last long. Usually within a few days, “the wind completely erodes or knocks down. When temperatures exceed freezing, it collapses. In winter, it is often covered with snow quickly,” Novicki said. I am.
Earlier this week, when temperatures began to rise, the pillars of Tisconia Park collapsed, Nowicki said. “The fact that they only exist for a short period of time makes them very special,” he said. “You have to be there at the right time to see them when the shapes are still clear.”
Originally published on Live Science.
Strange sand “chess pieces” are scattered on the shores of Lake Michigan. This is how they were formed.
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