In early January at least two photographers caught uncommon and amazing pictures of some sandy sculptures like towers rising from the beach at Lake Michigan. Those pillars made it look like an otherworldly environment. Would you like to know what are those sandy statues and how did they come? Let me explain!
Their establishment depends on several factors. According to Daniel Bonn, the head of the Van Der Waals-Zeeman Institute at Amsterdam University, wind conditions and sand-to-water content are those factors. Terri Abbott is a nature photographer who lives in Northern Indiana. On 08th January she was going to Tiscornia Park in St. Joseph and she noticed these stunning sculptures on snowy Lake Michigan Beach.
According to her, those pillars were of different heights, from 7.6 to 51 centimeters. “They were frozen and it was hard to touch. The sharp edges made each of them really amazing in their own way. It seem like a different planet when I was laying on the ground and shooting those sculptures” Abbott said. She said she couldn’t believe how perfectly chiseled they were as she had never seen sculptures like them before.
A senior researcher called Bonn also expressed his ideas regarding this incident. He was the senior researcher of a study published in the scientific reports journal in 2012 under the name “How to construct the perfect sandcastle”. According to him, there were liquid patches when the sand froze. “As the coast is a windy place, two opposing actions could happen. Some sand grains may be attached to the frozen patch and made it grow. On the other hand, the wind might erode sand pillars and it led to having the rings and asymmetric shapes on that pillars” he said.
“Some eroded sand from those pillars ended up on the beach and you can see there are point-like structures in some photos.” He furthermore said to prove his facts. Joshua Nowicki, a nature photographer in Southwest Michigan also saw the same pillars. He has seen similar ones before and he knew that it was rare. “If there is high wind and wet sand for several days, this could happen.” He said.
“Some of these sculptures are the tallest ones that I have ever seen and along the beach, there were more than thirty sand structures with at least six groups.” Novicki said. According to him most of those pillars do not have long lifespans and they completely erode within a few days. “If the temperature goes up above the freezing temperature, they will crumble and if it is winter, those pillars will cover by snow soon. As they only exist for a short time, it makes them very special.” He said.