When the conditions are just right, a small town in Finland becomes the breeding ground for thousands of eggs, nesting across the snow-covered sands near the icy waters of the northern Baltic Sea.

Puzzled by the unusual phenomenon along the coastline of Hailuoto Island, residents wondered why the varying sizes of eggs were left on their beaches.

But the snowy spheres aren’t eggs, instead they are natural ice sculptures molded by Mother Nature. Keep reading to learn more about some of these amazing ice formations across the world!

In 2019, amateur photographer Risto Mattila was on a winter stroll with his wife on Hailuoto Island, a small island nestled in the northern Baltic Sea.

Describing the weather conditions that day, Mattila told BBC that it was sunny, about 30°F and quite windy.

The perfect conditions for what they were about to find.

“There we found this amazing phenomenon. There was snow and ice eggs along the beach near the water line,” said the man, who lives in the nearby Oulu.

The couple stumbled across an awe-inspiring site on the beach where thousands of egg-like balls – the smallest the size of eggs and the biggest the size of footballs – covered an area of about 100 feet on Marjaniemi beach.

“That was an amazing view. I have never seen anything like this during 25 years living in the vicinity.”

BBC Weather expert George Goodfellow explains that it needs to be “cold and a bit windy for the ice balls to form.”

“The general picture is that they form from pieces of larger ice sheet which then get jostled around by waves, making them rounder,” he said. “They can grow when sea water freezes on to their surfaces and this also helps to make them smoother. So, the result is a ball of smooth ice which can then get deposited on to a beach, either blown there or getting left there when the tide goes out.”

This means the fascinating weather phenomenon is similar to a snowball adding layers and becoming larger as it’s rolled through the snow.

“A small ball surface gets wet, freezes and becomes bigger and bigger,” explains Dr. James Carter, emeritus professor of geography-geology at Illinois State University.

Speaking with the Guardian, Carter describes it as ice forming on the surface of water, which then becomes a form of slush when it’s moved around by waves.

“I can picture the back-and-forth motion of the surface shaping the slushy mix,” Carter said. “Thanks to the photographer who shared the photos and observations, now the world gets to see something most of us would never be able to see.”

Mesmerizing formations

These enchanting frozen orbs have been making appearances across the globe.

In northern Russia, residents found giant balls of ice and snow covering about 11 miles of a coastline at the Gulf of Ob, a bay of the Arctic Ocean. The spheres ranged in sizes, from tennis balls to a diameter of almost three feet. A snowball wall also formed from the melting spheres.

In February 2022, residents and tourists were mesmerized by balls of ice, trapped beneath the glossy frozen surface of a lake in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin.

Last year in Michigan, another stunning wonder was spotted on the shores of Lake Michigan, where its temperature-driven dynamics frequently create extraordinary ice formations, like ice volcanos that blast water, caves, or even pancakes.

Mother Nature is naturally gifted at sculpting these beautiful pieces and her work is truly a sight to behold!

What is the most stunning natural wonder you’ve seen? Please share your comments and then share this story so we can hear what others have to say!