Conical mounds of ice have been observed to form in a few hours during violent winter storms along the edge of shore-fast ice near Dunkirk, New York. They occur in lines which parallel depth contours, and are evenly spaced in the manner of beach cusps. The height and spacing of mounds and number of rows vary from year to year depending on such factors as storm duration and intensity, and the position of the edge of the shore-fast ice at the beginning of the storm.
The evenly sloping conical mounds have central channels which increase in width lakeward. The ice between the channels forms headlands above the lake surface. Spray-formed levees develop along the headlands and slope gently away from the lake margin. Lake marginal walls of ice are usually vertical.
Spray, slush and ice blocks are ejected over the cone as each successive wave is focused by the converging channel walls. Ice blocks, interlayered with frozen slush and dirt, form bedding paralleling the sloping surface of cones, headlands and levees. These features are here termed “ice volcanoes” because their origin is in so many ways analogous to that of true volcanoes.