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Weird sand ‘chess pieces’ dot Lake Michigan shore

To an unsuspecting person, the view would have appeared to be a scene from a science fiction film or a photograph of an alien world, but there is a beach and two lighthouses in the backdrop, indicating that it’s not from a remote planet.

These are photos of unexplained constructions that have appeared on the beaches of Lake Michigan in the United States. According to reports, these images were shared by Joshua Nowicki, a landscape and wildlife photographer who has previously shared many amazing natural phenomena photos, but claims that the sculptures this year were the biggest he had ever seen. ‘They are some of the tallest ones that I have ever photographed – the largest being about 15 inches tall’, he said.

People have speculated on how the images were generated, with some humorously referring to them as ‘alien art’ and others comparing them to ‘sand chess pieces’ or ‘sand hoodoos’.

You may breathe a sigh of relief, though, since these sand formations are generated in the same manner that a sculptor chisels away at the stone until a form appears, according to Alan Arbogast, chair of the Geography Department at Michigan State University who also studies the state’s dunes.

‘I imagine what happened is that the sand is frozen. Then, we had a big storm roll through a couple of weeks ago with strong winds. The wind blew along the beach and blasted out the areas that were a little less frozen. Those things aren’t being built up. Everything around the features that are standing up was eroded from it. Those are the things that are left behind’, he explained.

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Given that the United States is experiencing a very harsh winter, along with violent winds in early January, the conditions are ideal for the occurrence to happen. While the freezing temperatures aren’t great for people, they are definitely good for forming beautiful sand sculptures, thanks to photographers like Joshua Nowicki who captured these photographs.


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