Our weird weather winter continues in Minnesota. Now, rivers are making ice pancakes.

Yes, ice pancakes. That's a thing.

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According to the Weather Channel, ice pancakes begin as a thin layer of ice or slush, also called “grease ice”, on the water’s surface. The water's current breaks the ice into pieces, and wave action starts to bump the pieces together, creating a disk of ice.

The end result looks like icy lilypads floating on the water. As the ice pancakes bump up against each other, their edges get built up with more ice.

The ice pancakes can range from one to ten feet in diameter and up to four inches thick.

Carol Bauer of Graceville, Minnesota, describes herself as “a grandma with a camera”. She captured a video of pancake ice on the Minnesota River near Wheaton on January 1st. Using a drone, she was able to record the odd phenomena.


Officials say ice pancakes are a rare phenomenon most frequently spotted in the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe or around Antarctica, but form relatively frequently in the Great Lakes. Due to the unusual weather conditions this winter, ice pancakes have been found more often, allowing us to see this unique phonenoma for ourselves.

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