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Ice Volcanoes

Ice volcanoes are unique ice formations found along the south shore of Lake Superior. The shoreline along the Porcupine Mountains area is an outstanding place to view ice volcanoes during the winter.

When Lake Superior freezes over in early winter, ice volcanoes develop along the leading edge of the forming ice. Waves coming into shore from deeper water rise up as they hit the shallows, causing water to spout up through cracks in the newly formed ice. This wave action creates the characteristic cone shape of the ice volcano.

The height of cones can vary from two feet to more than 30 feet. These ice volcano formations remain through the winter. Groups of volcanoes produce an alien landscape on the frozen lake. USE CAUTION WHEN APPROACHING ICE VOLCANOES. Watch for thin ice and stay away from any areas of open water.

Visit Michigan Tech’s page on the science of ice volcanoes.

You’ll find beach access all along the Lake Superior shore of the Porcupine Mountains area. Access points include the sand flats and Green Park, both located between Ontonagon and Silver City. The Ontonagon Township Park is also a good place to access the lake.