Russians are marvelling at rare ice walls – in places 5m (16ft) high – towering on the shores of the Gulf of Finland near St Petersburg.
They were created by storms lashing the region in recent days.
Such phenomena are more characteristic of Russia’s Arctic far east.
The walls are formed when a storm exerts sideways pressure on thick ice covering a sea, river or lake. The ice is bad news for seals, though, as it can cut them off from the sea.
A conservation group – the Baltic Seal Foundation – is urging Russians to alert it to any stranded seals found in the region. Some have been spotted from helicopters.
One baby grey seal, just a few days old, was rescued last week and is doing well now, the group reports, with a video on vKontakte, the Russian version of Facebook.
The seal, swaddled in blankets, is fed five times a day with a pipette. It became stranded in Gakkovo, a coastal village near Estonia.
The most dramatic ice wall pictures so far have come from Zelenogorsk, on the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland, just outside St Petersburg.
Alexander Bravo posted images of the wall on the local website Terijoki.spb.ru. He calls it “the Zelenogorsk Alps”.
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