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Like thousands of white cannonballs dumped on the beach, you think these have to be manmade, perhaps part of some sculpture exhibition. But the giant snowballs are entirely natural, although the sight has not been witnessed here in living memory.
'When the water in the gulf rose, it came into contact with the frost. The beach began to be covered with ice. Then the water began to slowly retreat, and the ice remained. Its pieces were rolling over in the wet sand, and turned into these balls.' Spokesman for the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) Sergey Lisenkov said: 'It is a rare natural phenomenon. As a rule, grease ice forms first, slush. And then a combination of the action of the wind, the outlines of the coastline, and the temperature, may lead to the formation of such balls.'
The beach ball-sized orbs captured global attention after a Leelanau County woman, Leda Olmsted, snapped a few photos while on a walk in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in February. The field of ice boulders gives an eerie, other-worldly feel to the beach. It looks as if a bunch of giants are preparing for a snowball fight.