Scratch Circles

January 06, 2016


Photographer: David Marvin
Summary Author: David Marvin
January 2016 Viewer's Choice
While winter has been fairly mild so far this year along the Great Lakes of the U.S., the winds that typically buffet the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan continue to blow unabated. However, the lack of snow and ice on the beaches has allowed unique features called scratch circles, or Scharrkreise, to form on the sand. Etched by windblown, dried dune grasses, the circles take shape when the wind causes a bent stalk of grass to pivot around on its axis, scratching out an arc or full circle in the sand. The Scharrkreise shown above has a diameter of about 7 in (17.5 cm). Photo taken on December 25, 2015.