First blue ice of 2019 is stacking up in Michigan, but not where you’d expect
Outdoor enthusiasts love the changing landscape features in Michigan and blue ice seems to be one that has caught their attention.
So what exactly causes the appearance of blue ice? Apparently, it’s all about a lack of air bubbles, and how our eyes perceive the ice, according to the staff at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, where blue ice also can form near their famous ice caves.
“Ice only appears blue when it is sufficiently consolidated so that air bubbles do not interfere with the passage of light,” Apostle Islands staff explained in 2018. “Without the scattering effect of bubbles, light can penetrate ice undisturbed. In ice, the absorption of light at the red end of the spectrum is six times greater than at the blue end. Six feet into the ice, most of the light in the red spectrum can’t be seen. A lack of reflected red wavelengths produces the color blue in the human eye.”
A photographer by the name of Patrick Hugener, owner of Head in the Clouds Photography, was getting some shots along Lake Superior’s Munising Bay on Tuesday when the flat, irregular-shaped hues of blue caught his eye.
Hugener was shocked to see the blue ice formations. Munising Bay is just starting to freeze over, and Hugener said “a good size chunk of ice out by Sand Point broke up, and gusty winds pushed it to shore.”
More common winter features for Munising include ice shelves, which form when big winds over Lake Superior pile snow and ice and sand onto the shoreline.