'It was like a different planet': Sand sculptures litter Lake Michigan beach


A walk along Lake Michigan this week was a lot like a stroll through a museum gallery thanks to some weather elements coming together to create an incredible phenomenon. Small, delicate sand sculptures casually littered the beach at Tiscornia Park in St. Joseph, Mich.

"It was like a different planet," Terri Abbott told Fox 2. "I've never seen anything like them, and I spend a lot of time there!" Tiscornia Park is on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan, about 190 miles west of Detroit.

Photographer Joshua Nowicki has taken many incredible photos of the phenomenon and other beautiful winter scenes in the Midwest and says the sculptures are a fleeting creation of nature.

"They do not last very long. The wind completely erodes them or knocks them down. If the temperature goes up above freezing they crumble, and often in the winter, they soon get covered by drifting snow," Nowicki told Colossal. The sculptures this year are the biggest he's ever seen with the largest being about 15 inches tall.

The otherworldly phenomenon is caused when a combination of weather elements occurs simultaneously: wind, cold and snow or rain. The wind erodes the frozen sand, which is slightly wet from precipitation then the cold air holds the delicate shapes in place.

Alan Arbogast, the chair of the Geography Department at Michigan State University who also studies the state's dunes, explained to Fox 2 how the sand formations are created just like a sculptor chisels away at stone until a form emerges.

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