Owing to a unique confluence of weather conditions, photographer Joshua Nowicki encountered an extraordinary sight when he went for a walk on the shore of Lake Michigan near the city of St. Joseph last weekend – bizarre towers of sand standing as tall as 12in (30cm).

It turns out that the towers were a unique combination of the intense cold and the wind blowing off of the enormous lake. The wind eroded the frozen sand, leaving behind these curious wind-blasted towers.

The beautiful spectacle was short-lived, however – when he returned later to capture more photos of the strange phenomenon, they had already been melted by the snow.

More info: Facebook | Smugmug (h/t: colossal, earthsky)