Mesmerizing ‘ice balls’ have appeared on a beach in Finland

Nov 17, 2019

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File under: “Well, this is weird.”

Ice balls the size of hen eggs and footballs have appeared on Hailuoto, an island off the coast of Finland. And according to Lonely Planet, they’re covering a pretty substantial section of the beach. If you didn’t know any better, you might even believe they’re fake. See for yourself:

 

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Experts said this phenomenon is triggered by a few incredibly specific conditions, Lonely Planet reported. First, “A thin ice sheet must be blown onto a relatively gently sloping shore during particularly cold temperatures.” From there, the wind and waves will roll these fragments of the sheet ice into these smooth ice balls. The movement just needs to be continual and moderate, and the size of the ice balls is dictated by how long these weather conditions continue.

Risto Mattila, an amateur photographer from nearby Oulu, told the BBC, “I was with my wife at Marjaniemi beach. The weather was sunny, about [30 degrees Fahrenheit] and it was quite a windy day. There we found this amazing phenomenon. There was snow and ice eggs along the beach near the water line.”

Never, in a quarter century of living in the area, had Mattila seen such a sight.

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While this is a rare occurrence, it’s not completely unheard of. The BBC also noted that a similar phenomenon has appeared before in Russia and even Lake Michigan, near Chicago.

You’ll have to brave the cold this time of year, but Finland is a beautiful country — ice balls or no ice balls — that you’ll be sure to fall in love with. In fact, Helsinki might even be the perfect destination for families. The country’s flag carrier, Finnair, is part of the Oneworld alliance and, as of August 2018, you can use your Alaska Airlines miles to book a flight on Finnair.

Feature photo by Jani Riekkinen / EyeEm /Getty Images.

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