POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 3:57pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 3:58pm
LEELANAU COUNTY, MI (CNN) — Recent winter weather has created a spectacular sight at Lake Michigan.
They’re ice caves, formed by wind and waves pushing ice against the shore.
"Sights I've never seen before in all my life-- and I've traveled the world round," said ice cave visitor, Tom Auch.
Just north of Leland, ice caves have formed along the eastern side of Lake Michigan.
The caves are formed by the wind and wave action, westerly winds push slushy ice up along the shoreline.
Layer after layer freezes on top of each other and forms caves up to 30-feet high.
"When the sun comes out, it's just these beautiful hues of blue. It's a magic wonderland," George Meredith, an ice cave visitor, told CNN.
Waves not only carve out spectacular crevices, but the freezing spray creates icicle-like formations.
Once the wind calms, more sheet ice is formed on the water and, when it picks back up, the waves push the broken ice pieces together, creating an angular ice sheet, that you can walk on to see the caves.
"These are something special. I've never seen anything like it. They were as big as a garage, cliffs of 20-to-30 feet. It was pretty special," Tom Auch said.
"For all intents and purposes, it looks like you're on one of the polar ice caps. There's just huge, looming pieces of ice, sheets of ice like gigantic sheets of glass, and there's just miles and miles of these caves offshore that you can explore," George Meredith said.