Nfld. & Labrador

Powerful winds create 'Game of Thrones' ice wall in Newfoundland town

It's estimated the wall is more than 18 feet high.

Residents marvel they haven't seen anything like it before

Brendon Gould stands by a wall of ice near Port au Choix, N.L. (The Canadian Press)

A towering ice wall has dramatically emerged near a small town on Newfoundland's northwest coast, with one resident likening it to a Game of Thrones set.

Brendon Gould of Port aux Choix said he stands over six feet tall but the wall was more than three times his height in some places.

Gould shared photos showing the wall dwarfing his frame, with jagged ice chunks as large as a person seen scattered nearby.

A lifelong resident of the small town on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula, Gould said he'd never seen anything like it before. He noticed the wall while driving about a week ago, seeing it stretched along a coastal point that hosts the community's historic lighthouse.

The wall is there now, and it's not going to get dragged out to sea or anything like that.- Brad Drummond

Gould said he had to get up close to really take in the massive scale of the ice, pushed ashore by strong winds.

"It pretty much stretches around the whole point that's out there," Gould said by phone on Friday.

"You can't really get a feel for it unless you're down next to it," said Gould, adding it reminded him of Game of Thrones.

Summer ice wall?

Brad Drummond of the Canadian Ice Service said the phenomenon is known to develop when strong winds blowing in one direction push ice onshore over an extended period of time.

Drummond said formations like this are more common in the spring when ice is more malleable and likely to break up into smaller boulders, and in areas with a gentle incline along the shore.

He said judging from photos, the build-up is unusually large — though he said its size is unsurprising, given the heavy winds that have battered the area this year.

"It's definitely a large wall, one of the larger ones I've seen," Drummond said.

It could be dangerous to stand too close in case the unstable structure shifts and the large ice chunks fall, Drummond said, but otherwise risks are minimal and the formation could stick around into early summer, depending on how long it takes to melt.

"The wall is there now, and it's not going to get dragged out to sea or anything like that."

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