Ice shoves: Incredible frozen waves that get blown ashore by the wind

I don’t like unexpected visitors, even less so when the visitor is an aggressive wall of ice. Luckily, ice shoves, as they’re called, don’t happen very often. They need very specific conditions to develop.

These ice tsunamis form when a large body of water freezes over. Strong winds, or currents in the sea, push the ice on to land. This just sounds so unlikely. I mean, what sort of wind can pick up ice and push it onto land like a wave?

A little gust here and there won’t do it. Nor will a big gust, even. You need sustained winds of at least 40mph. If you find it hard to imagine, watch the videos. I have, a few times, and I’m still a bit baffled.

These ice waves can reach heights of 30 feet and they can flatten houses, bust through walls and take down trees. One of the weirdest things about them, though, is the sound they make. From a distance, they sound like trains chugging into a station but as they get closer it sounds like shards of glass shattering and falling… and it kind of looks like that too!

Take a look at the videos. One of them features a very excitable American but, to be fair, if this was happening in my back garden I’d sound a bit excitable/hysterical too:

(Contains strong language… Understandably.)

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About Lizzie Brooks

Lizzie Brooks

The most beautiful place I have been (so far!) has been Norway. Coming in to land in Oslo was like coming in to land in a fairytale; pine trees that looked like velvet amongst frozen fjords, the occasional wisp of smoke coming up from a little yellow or red house within the trees. Beautiful!

I kind of expected to see a Moomin emerging (but they are from Finland, of course).

Lizzie works in our marketing team

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