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Thousands of rare 'ice eggs' wash up on beach — see the wild photos

A combination of wind and waves created a scene like something out of "Game of Thrones" on a Finnish beach.
Thousands of rare 'ice eggs' wash up on beach
A rare weather phenomenon created thousands of "ice eggs" on a beach in Finland.Courtesy \ Risto Mattila
/ Source: TODAY

A rare weather phenomenon has made a beach in Finland look like a dragon laid its eggs on the sand.

Amateur photographer Risto Mattila was walking on the beach with his wife on Hailuoto Island in the Gulf of Bothnia on Sunday when he came upon thousands of "ice eggs" in piles on the beach.

"I was confused after seeing lots of snow and ice balls near the shoreline,'' Mattila told TODAY in an email. "The smallest one was about egg size and the biggest one about football size."

The balls of ice ranged from the size of an egg to the size of a football. Courtesy \ Risto Mattila

The "ice eggs" sparkled in the sun on a 30-degree day as Mattila took several photos that he posted on Instagram.

"It was beautiful,'' he said. "I have never seen a phenomenon like this before."

The BBC's weather expert said the oddly-shaped ice balls form when pieces of a larger ice sheet break up and are polished smooth by the waves and the wind before washing up on the beach.

The ice eggs get their smooth roundness from being hit by the wind while in the sea before washing ashore, according to weather experts. Courtesy \ Risto Mattila

Mattila has been living nearby for 25 years and had never seen it happen before, he said.

The wild, wintry landscape brought to mind the beautiful blue ice shards that formed in Lake Michigan during the spring thaw in March as well as the icy wonderland at Niagara Falls in January.