Ice wall on Cape Breton attracts people from across island

ملفات اخبار العرب24-كندا: An ice wall that has formed at Irish Vale, Cape Breton, is gaining a great deal of attention.

Huge blocks of ice have piled up along the shore of the Bras d'Or Lake, next to Route 4.

"It's impressive," said Nadine Neima-Drover, who heard about it on social media and went to the site to see it in person.

"It's really hard to believe the force of the waves that would have pushed these pieces of ice. They are not little pieces."

The director of the Bras d'Or Institute and Cape Breton University chair in marine ecosystem research, Bruce Hatcher, told Information Morning Cape Breton that the phenomenon is called "ice rafting" and the spectacle at Irishvale is similar to one happening at Lake Erie.

Hatcher estimated the ice is four to six metres high, four to five metres wide and 700 metres long.

"That's 16,000 tonnes of ice," he said.

He said a sheet of ice on the larger part of the lake broke apart and then west-northwest winds blew 80 to 120 km/hr for a few days, creating 2.6-metre waves.

Traffic was congested along Route 4 near Irish Vale on Saturday, as people stopped to get a look at the ice hill. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

He said the waves and the wind pushed the ice up against the barachois at Irish Vale.

"So it grounds on that and once it grounds, the ice has to come to a stop, but there is that irresistible force behind it, just shoving more and more ice," Hatcher said. "So it just piles up. It just grows."

Hatcher said to his knowledge this has happened on the Bras d'Or Lake three times in the past 15 years.

"You don't see many examples of it. It seems to be associated with big lakes that get large fields of ice," he said. "They're too big to be completely covered in ice, where you get these mobile ice sheets that sometimes hit the shore."

'Fantastic and amazing'

Drivers have been stopping along the highway to get a close-up look.

Vivian Stothomas, who is from the Phillippines, was very excited though she slipped several times climbing on the ice.

"It is really fantastic and amazing," she said.

This the third time an ice wall has formed on the lake in the last 15 years. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Chad Magee drove out from Louisbourg to see it.

"I just went over the top and I got a nice panoramic view."

And Charito Grafilo also drove to see the ice wall, but hoped it would be gone by summer.

"I can't wait for summer, but for now I will have to enjoy this."

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