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Ice Volcanoes of the Lake Erie Shore Near Dunkirk, New York, U.S.A.

  • R. K. Fahnestock (a1), D. J. Crowley (a1), M. Wilson (a1) and H. Schneider
Abstract

Conical mounds of ice have been observed to form in a few hours during violent winter storms along the edge of shore-fast ice near Dunkirk, New York. They occur in lines which parallel depth contours, and are evenly spaced in the manner of beach cusps. The height and spacing of mounds and number of rows vary from year to year depending on such factors as storm duration and intensity, and the position of the edge of the shore-fast ice at the beginning of the storm.

The evenly sloping conical mounds have central channels which increase in width lakeward. The ice between the channels forms headlands above the lake surface. Spray-formed levees develop along the headlands and slope gently away from the lake margin. Lake marginal walls of ice are usually vertical.

Spray, slush and ice blocks are ejected over the cone as each successive wave is focused by the converging channel walls. Ice blocks, interlayered with frozen slush and dirt, form bedding paralleling the sloping surface of cones, headlands and levees. These features are here termed “ice volcanoes” because their origin is in so many ways analogous to that of true volcanoes.

Résumé

On a observé la formation en quelques heures, au cours de violentes tempêtes hivernales, de mamelons coniques de glace le long du bord de la glace ferme près de Dunkirk, New York. Ils sè présentent alignés selon de larges courbes parallèles et sont régulièrement espacés à la manière des barkanes de sable sur les plages. La hauteur et l’espacement des mamelons, le nombre des rangées, varient d’une année à l’autre au gré de facteurs tels que la durée de l’intensité des tempêtes et la position de la ligne de glace ferme au début de la perturbation.

La distribution régulière des mamelons coniques ménage des couloirs centraux qui croissent en largeur en allant vers le lac. La glace entre les couloirs forme des caps au-dessus de la surface du lac. Des promontoires formés par les jets d’embruns se développent le long des parois des caps, le niveau de ces promontoires s’abaissant progressivement lorsqu’on s’éloigne de la rive du lac. Les falaises de glace le long des rives du lac sont généralement verticales.

Des embruns, de la boue et des fragments de glace sont éjectés par dessus les cones par chaque vague successive et focalisés par les murs convergents des couloirs. Les fragments de glace entrecoupés de niveaux d embruns gelés et de poussières forment des lits parallèles à la surface inclinée des cones, des caps et des promontoires. Ces formations sont appelées volcans de glace à cause de leur origine à bien des égards, analogue à celle des véritables volcans.

Zusammenfassung

Nahe bei Dunkirk, New York, wurden kegelförmige Eiswälle beobachtet, die sich während heftiger Winterstürme an uferfesten Eisrändern in wenigen Stunden bilden. Sie treten in Reihen parallel zu Tiefenlinien auf und sind gleichmässig wie Strandrippeln angeordnet. Die Höhe und Verteilung der Wälle und die Anzahl ihrer Reihen schwanken von Jahr zu Jahr in Abhängigkeit von Faktoren wie Sturmdauer und -stärke sowie Lage des uferfesten Eisrandes bei Beginn des Sturmes.

Die gleichmässig geneigten, kegelförmigen Wälle haben zentrale Kanäle, die seewärts an Breite zunchmen. Das his zwischen den Kanälen ragt über die Seeoberfläche empor. Von Gischt gebildete Wallkronen entwickeln sich entlang der Vorwälle und fallen flach gegen das Seeufer ab. Eiswälle am Seeufer sind gewohnlich vertikal.

Gischt, Schlamm und Eisblöcke werden über die Kegelkronen geschleudert, da jede nachfolgende Welle von den konvergierenden Kanalwänden ausgerichtet wird. Eisblöcke mit gefrorenen Schlamm- und Schmutz-schichten bilden eine Unterlage parallel zur Oberflächenneigung der Kegel, Vorwälle und Kronen. Diese Erscheinungen werden hier “Eisvulkane” genannt, weil ihre Bildung der echter Vulkane ausgesprochen analog verläuft.

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* Valid objections have been raised to the terms volcanoes, mounds, cones and even dunes as they are known at Presque Isle State Park, Erie, Pennsylvania where prominent permanent signs warn of the danger of trespass. “Ice volcano” has been adopted in this paper as most descriptive of form and process.

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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
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