2020 Ice Out Update…6.0

Hope you are all doing well and avoiding cabin fever…

Seems likely with all the social isolation going on right now that some of you out there might see the walls starting to move in on you. Like most of us you have likely wandered through the Netflix archives, and brushed up on many card / board games. Don’t fret. I have a proposal that might take your mind off things. I will fill you in later in this post…..but now what is going on with the ice?!

A week of cold weather…

Today, at about 4 in the afternoon the sun finally came out with a bit of heat. Till now I think the prognosis for winter ending was slim. Thankfully the forecast moving forward looks normal. Here’s what things look like…

Ice piling up.
Boulders are on the move.
Ice on the shore!
A great view if you’re a rock!
The hump is still alive and well…maybe bigger!

Which brings me back to my last “challenge” on explaining the eccentric ice behavior this year…

On my last blog post I gave my theory on why the ice was behaving so strangely. I challenged you to prove me wrong and a few of you had some very good ideas. Joe Moskal sent me this link and I’ve printed off the most relevant section for your reading pleasure…

Ice Jacking…

Ice jacking typically its worst in very cold winters with meager snow.  Without a thick blanket of snow to keep the ice at a relatively constant temperature, the giant sheet of ice is easily heated and cooled by the fluctuating ambient temperatures or the sun, or both.  The constant change in temperature causes increased expansion and contraction as the outside temperatures rise and fall, and as the sun goes up and down. When the temperature falls, ice contracts.  That causes cracks in the ice, which quickly fill from the water below and refreeze.  When temperatures rise, the ice expands.  But now because the cracks have filled and frozen, the ice has nowhere to go, so it pushes up against the outer edges of the confines (i.e., the shoreline).

In every cold-warm cycle there is a ratcheting effect  – hence the name “ice jacking” (think of the jack you use to change a flat tire).  More and more pressure is put on the shoreline as the ice is slowly jacked towards the shoreline, inches at a time.

Note: Any substantial change in temperature (including the suns rays on a clear day) cause ice to crack.  Assuming the ambient temperature is below the freezing point, those cracks quickly fill with water and refreeze.  Cracks constantly filling with water and refreezing equates to an ever-expanding sheet of ice.

Ice-jacking is worsened if you go into the winter with higher-than-normal water levels.  If the water is higher against your shoreline, the ice has even less room to expand before plowing up your shoreline.  2019 was an especially bad year here in Minnesota, because we had ultra-high water levels due to a wet spring, summer, and fall.  Plus, we had no snow in December and January of 2019, combined with record-breaking sub-zero temperatures.  And plenty of sunny, cloudless days.  It was the perfect storm.  The only saving grace was the heaps of snow we received in February, which insulated the ice like 3 feet of Thinsulate, stopping the ice expansion in its tracks.   Still, all the damage had already been done.

Even worse is when the expanding ice pushes your shoreline in, up, and out of the wayaa2.  In that case, the frozen sheet of ice was so thick that it was easier for the ice to expand and push your frozen shoreline out of the way than it was to break the increasingly thickening sheet of ice and push it upwards (causing an ice ridge). The ice had to expand somewhere, and your shoreline was the path of least resistance.  Any shoreline design to “stop” the ice will fail every time.  You don’t stop Mother Nature, but you can reason with her.  (More on that in a moment.)

Ice jacking typically its worst in very cold winters with meager snow.  Without a thick blanket of snow to keep the ice at a relatively constant temperature, the giant sheet of ice is easily heated and cooled by the fluctuating ambient temperatures or the sun, or both.  The constant change in temperature causes increased expansion and contraction as the outside temperatures rise and fall, and as the sun goes up and down. When the temperature falls, ice contracts.  That causes cracks in the ice, which quickly fill from the water below and refreeze.  When temperatures rise, the ice expands.  But now because the cracks have filled and frozen, the ice has nowhere to go, so it pushes up against the outer edges of the confines (i.e., the shoreline).

In every cold-warm cycle there is a ratcheting effect  – hence the name “ice jacking” (think of the jack you use to change a flat tire).  More and more pressure is put on the shoreline as the ice is slowly jacked towards the shoreline, inches at a time.

The exception to this theory..

Is the bulge in the creek, which mentioned in the above is an Ice Ridge. Undoubtedly the conditions in the creek allowed for this unique formation. Apparently we are fortunate to experience this bounty! For all of you who responded (check the comments on the last blog), you all deserve a mug. I have one ready for your arrival! Joe Moskal, on the other hand, apparently has a complete set of mugs and wishes to instead be granted a good shot of premium bourbon. I will grant his wish.

A solution to cabin fever?

I mentioned earlier that I had an idea where some of you could vent your pent-up feelings of being cooped up and frustrated. Want to write a story? Let your passions flow? I’m open to publishing your story. It needs to be short, be about something to do with the VBL experience (fishing, family, tips, whatever)…include a couple pictures, and a brief bio of yourself. I will put it in the right format and viola! Get it off your chest, brag about your prowess, teach us your fishing mastery…. The point being, help me / us survive this present doldrum by giving us what we need. Hope to hear from some of you soon!

What we look forward to!

4 thoughts on “2020 Ice Out Update…6.0

  1. I’m in! I’ll work on something this weekend and send it in!

    Maybe I’ll share a story about the joys of a 4-portage trip to see a Caribou.

    1. True, but water expands when it freezes….hence cracks in the ice caused by the expansion contraction fill with water, freeze, expand and the process occurs.

      A mug awaits you….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Keep up to date with The Electric Beaver, The Official Eagle Lake Blog since 2008

Read Now

Testimonials

On behalf of the Boyes Group, I would like to pass on our sincere thanks for hosting the Muskie Madness Week and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at VBL and had a great time!! This was our 7th year on Eagle Lake and we have stayed at a few other lodges but VBL takes the cake hands down! You can definitely count us in for next year. I’m happy to see you post some of my pics, they turned out well. Thanks again Gord for a wonderful week of fishing and your stellar hospitality, you run a first class operation, we look forward to seeing you next year!

Trevor Benner

Receive latest news articles