Enchanting Sky Blue Ice Draws Photographers To Lake Michigan Bridge

You can’t help but linger on this pale blue ice.

The nearly neon chunks are piling up near Lake Michigan’s 5-mile-long Mackinac Bridge — especially gorgeous against the muted tones of the snow and winter sky.

Mackinaw City resident Liza Signor told Michigan Live that the unusual color is a common phenomenon in the area.

“Usually you don’t see it until it becomes dammed up like that,” she said. “A week ago, it was all open water in front of our house. It changes that fast.”

Ice and snow usually appear white because all light hitting the surface gets reflected back. However, when ice crystals are coarser and the ice has fewer bubbles, light waves are able to travel deeper into the ice, the National Snow & Ice Data Center explains. This means that longer red wavelengths wind up getting absorbed, while shorter blue wavelengths get scattered, causing the blue color viewers see. The deeper that light is able to travel into ice, the bluer the ice will appear, according to the National Park Service.

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