Skip to main content

Mesmerizing spinning ice circle discovered on Brainerd lake

  • Author:
  • Updated:

[facebook url="" /]

An unusual winter phenomenon has visitors to Brainerd transfixed.

The Brainerd Dispatch has video footage of a remarkable, rotating "ice circle" that formed this past weekend, which is drawing crowds of people to Upper South Long Lake.

You can watch the video here.

Facebook user Ann Scheinost also shared her own footage of the phenomenon – that video is embedded above.

The newspaper also has an explanation for what is creating the disc, courtesy of Department of Natural Resources climatologist Peter Boulay, who says the circle forms as flowing water from the Nokasippi River "creates an eddy where ice is forming."

"So you get ice forming and it gets bigger as it gets colder and then the water that is moving faster is not freezing up, so what you get in the end is this big pancake of ice that is moving slowly around in a circle. You see pancake ice on water that's moving. When the lakes are trying to freeze up this past weekend, I saw a lot of that kind of ice forming in circles."

It's not the first time ice circles have drawn interest in the Midwest – two years ago one on the Sheyenne River in North Dakota that was nearly 55 feet in diameter made its rounds on the Internet, as reported by the International Business Times.

And NBC News reported they tend to show up around flowing rivers in countries with cold climates, with spinning discs also discovered in Canada, Sweden and even England during the winter.

The International Business Times said there's another theory explaining how they are creating, saying they form at bends in rivers where rushing water breaks off a piece of established ice and then rotates, becoming smooth as it grinds against the ice surrounding it.

Next Up


Beloved Eagan Dairy Queen says goodbye

A summer staple has shuttered in Eagan.

Screen Shot 2022-08-16 at 3.44.22 PM (2)

Bridge damage closes westbound Hwy. 62 between Richfield, Edina

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said bridge maintenance work is in progress.

Michael Miller

Charges: Drunk driver killed former chair of Hibbing Chamber of Commerce

Michael Miller's blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

Mystic Lake

Charges: Man attacked Mystic Lake security with 2x4

A chaotic scene unfolded after the man approached the bell stand late Friday.


SWAT presence in Eagan neighborhood Tuesday morning

There's a developing story out of Eagan.


Comedian claims hotel bed bug ruined his Twin Cities visit

The Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Minneapolis states otherwise.

Lindahl lawsuit

Kris Lindahl suing realtor, accusing him of copying arms out pose

The real estate agent is accused of breach of contract and copyright infringement.


Cabin owner's body pulled from lake near Brainerd

The 60-year-old man from St. Paul never resurfaced.

Brooke Waldorf, Cody Lisson, Alec Stark and Raymond Rohl.

Young hunters re-live escape after being caught on stormy lake

They were saved in no small part thanks to their life jackets.