It looks like something from Mars, but this is from a local paper about something that was from around here.
The above photo is not very good quality but it is from a newspaper clipping submitted by former Burlington resident Robert Taylor. He remembers seeing these along the shore.
It seems this is a phenomenon seen only on the shores of the Great Lakes. The following is copied from the Ontario Parks website:
Sometimes, when conditions are just right – we get volcanoes! When it gets cold enough, ice starts building up along the shoreline as an ice shelf. If the temperature, wind direction and wave height is right, the gentling sloping limestone just offshore funnels waves under the ice shelf and up through it at a weak point. This results in a blowhole type phenomenon, with icy water spewing up into the air through the ice. This water falls back down and freezes, eventually building up a cone through which the water continues to erupt. A volcano! An ice volcano! But ice volcanoes can be shorter-lived than snow tracks. The ice shelf builds out or the waves decrease and the water can no longer make it up and through the volcano. It goes extinct, no longer spouting water. While live volcanoes can be hard to see, Presqu’ile’s winter shoreline is often ringed by an icy field of extinct volcanoes, their hollow cones pointing to the winter sky, waiting to erupt again.
Click here if you would like to see a video of a live volcano
J.Downey 17 Dec 2018