FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Pancake ice was spotted on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron this week.
Pancake ice is a real thing and it looks just like a pancake or a deep dish pizza.
They are also known as frazil pans.
Just like a good pancake or pizza, it needs the right ingredients.
Pancake ice needs the right temperature and the perfect amount of motion to form.
Large chunks of ice and pancake ice on #LakeMichigan along the #Chicago shoreline this morning. Unusual to have so little ice on the lake this year but increased some this weekend. @weatherchannel @pattrn #ILwx @TomNiziol pic.twitter.com/LTclvE28of
— Charles Peek (@CharlesPeekWX) February 1, 2021
According to the National Weather Service, these pancake shapes form when the waters are rough and temperatures are below freezing.
When the temperature falls below the freezing mark, a thin layer of ice or slush forms on the surface of the water.
Insert a strong wind to create rough waves which will cause the ice to break into pieces.
The flow of the water will then shape the ice pieces.
The choppier the water, the smaller the pancakes and vice versa.
— NZP Chasers (@NZPChasers) February 4, 2021
The signature feature of raised edges are caused by the ice chunks bumping into each other.
This is not a new ice formation.
It actually occurs frequently in the Arctic.
There, the pancakes can grow to ten feet in diameter.
Much like pancakes at the kitchen table, they are short lived.
Pancake ice!!!! Rollin! �� https://t.co/ePJ1rYJf1U
— Shepler's Ferry (@sheplersferry) February 4, 2021