Lake Superior caves put on rare, dazzling icicle show

APOSTLE ISLANDS, Wisconsin — Just as people dress differently when temperatures plunge below zero, so does nature.

The arctic siege gripping the Upper Midwest has turned most of the Great Lakes into vast frozen plains blanketed in white. At Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin, caves formed over centuries along the Lake Superior shoreline by crashing waves, freezing and thawing have been transformed into showplaces for dazzling natural ice sculptures. Waterfalls frozen into towering pillars extend from cliffs to the lakeshore. Icicles by the millions dangle from the cave ceilings like giant chandeliers, many as delicate and sharp as needles, others so intricate they appear to have been carved by a master craftsman.

Cold winters are nothing new here, but this year’s temperatures have been so consistently low that park officials say they’ve made the ice formations particularly beautiful by preventing freeze-and-thaw cycles that cause blurring. Another benefit: The caves usually are accessible only by water, but Superior’s rock-solid surface is letting people walk to them for the first time since 2009. About 35,000 have made the trek.

Here is a gallery of photos by Brian Peterson of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

More in Local News

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Serial killer wannabe admits trying to kill man she met online

She told police she planned to rip out her victim’s heart and eat it — and would continue killing.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Hot weather takes toll on young Christmas trees

The effect is likely to be felt in the years to come when they would have been cut.

Most Read