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What is an Ice Shove and How Can I Prevent Damage to my Shoreline?

08 May 2022 5:44 PM | Stephen Peterson (Administrator)

Some Platte Lake residents have experienced their shoreline being pushed up by the ice. So, how does this happen? Well, several physical properties can work together to “shove” ice toward your shoreline. Temperature fluctuations, changing water levels and the prevailing wind can all contribute to push ice onto the shore with considerable force. This force has been known to move houses off of their foundations, push boulders the size of SUVs and snap trees in half. Do we have your attention?

As you know, Platte Lake covers 2,516 acres, is 3.3 miles long and roughly 1.6 miles wide. When temperatures decrease, this large ice sheet contracts, forming stress fractures. Water from below fills these cracks, freezes and expands the ice sheet. When temperatures rise, the ice expands, as well. Lastly, changing water levels also cause the ice to crack, cracks, again, fill with water, freeze and the ice sheet continues to expand. Unfortunately, this happens all winter long, continually expanding the ice sheet. It just keeps getting wider.

Prevailing wind also comes into play. Typically, the land temperature causes the water near shore to freeze last and thaw first causing a huge, very heavy, floating ice sheet on the lake. The bigger the lake, the more force the wind can apply to push this heavy mass of ice toward shore. You see this in the summer in the form of bigger waves.

So, what can you do to protect your shoreline? Landscapers recommend a 3:1 slope, meaning a gradual rise of 1 foot for every 3 feet of shoreline. This will create a ramp for the ice to slide on top of the ground rather than pushing up against it. This will also reduce erosion from wave action once the ice is gone. Please know that it is your responsibility to obtain all necessary permits before you begin any shoreline work.

Here's a TV feature from Minnesota:


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