Assign to Google Classroom
Parts of Cape Cod have been looking a little bit like the Arctic Circle.
Icebergs aren't a common sight in Massachusetts, but massive chunks of ice have washed up on some beaches and they're drawing curious onlookers.
Children have been climbing some of the icy mammoths that cropped up along Duck Harbor Beach in Wellfleet. Despite a brief warmup earlier last week, there were still big chunks 5 1/2 to 6 feet high on the beach as late as last Thursday.
"It's amazing, they're like mini-icebergs," said Jessica Hornung, 33, who drove up from Connecticut with her three young children just to check out the unusual sight.
"It would be awesome if there were a polar bear on one of them," she joked.
Technically, the chunks aren't icebergs, which are defined as large pieces that break off glaciers or polar ice shelves.
Instead, meteorologists say, they're fragments from the extraordinary amount of ice that built up in Massachusetts Bay and were carried by currents into Cape Cod Bay and the Cape Cod Canal, a startling reminder of an epic winter that held much of New England in an icy grip for weeks.
Michelle Norcross ventured out with her husband and daughter to snap photographs of the huge chunks at low tide, when they're most visible.
Some of the pieces are so big they dwarf humans.
"I'm hoping they're right when they say this is a once-in-a-generation occurrence. It's beautiful, but it's very unusual," she said.
"I don't want this to happen every year. It's kind of freaky."
Officials say the ice chunks are melting and the phenomenon won't last long.
Critical thinking challenge: Why are people calling the chucks icebergs if they aren't icebergs?