It's been a cold, crazy winter, and some remarkable things have happened to the Great Lakes: they have more ice cover than they have had in 21 years, and the deep freeze has allowed visitors to see the stunning Apostle Island ice caves at Lake Superior.
But some things are just too frozen to be true.
— Derptastic Finn! (@mattcoe36) February 10, 2014
Ice Wave in Lake Huron... pic.twitter.com/ciRkj17bav
— Soul Shadow (@abigfanofcarly) February 10, 2014
Despite showing up on Twitter, in email forwards and old blog posts, these are not frozen ice waves in Lake Huron, from this season or any other. According to UpNorthLive.com, the photos get passed around winter after winter.
In fact, they were taken a decade ago in an entirely different hemisphere and aren't waves at all.
Scientist Tony Travouillon shot the photographs while he was at the Dumont d'Urville Station in Antarctica in the early 2000s. According to the Weather Channel, the formations are actually blue icebergs. They explain:
The blue color in the icebergs results from melting and re-freezing, which forces out trapped air and allows the blue color in the visible light spectrum to pass through, while blocking the red color.
The formations are not waves, frozen upon hitting the cold air, as some of the photo-spreaders have claimed. Instead, their shapes come from the ice being weathered and shaped by wind over time, according to UpNorthLive.com.
"It’s like literally looking at a large ice cube, and you can see where the cracks define the ripples in each of those waves, by the melting and the re-icing of the iceberg itself," Travouillon told the Weather Channel. “It was a very intense color, and when you have the sun coming out, you can really see quite thickly through the iceberg, and it’s quite a view."
More of photos can be seen on Travouillon's website.
It seems that people are hungry for photographic proof of just how unbearably cold the winter has been. Last month, a photograph of a Lake Michigan lighthouse covered in ice went viral as people complained about the polar vortex. Only problem, it was taken by photographer John McCormick in 2013.
But just because the Antarctica photos aren't from Lake Huron, doesn't mean the lake isn't covered in ice -- and the real views are actually quite stunning, as can be seen in photos taken by adventurers who visited the lake this winter.
— Joanna Kurowski (@KurowskiJ) February 10, 2014
— Peter Kelly (@ThePhotovore) February 6, 2014
Lake Huron's shoreline has frozen in ice and snow-covered waves. It feels like the end of the earth out there. pic.twitter.com/XYcrFCtUeu
— Emily Baillie (@EmilyBaillie) December 27, 2013