Giant snowballs have appeared on a beach in northern Russia.

The balls can be seen over 18 kilometres along the coastline of the Gulf of Ob. Locals say they have never seen anything like it.

The snowballs are a variety of sizes - from the dimension of a tennis ball to that of a beach ball.

They are thought to have been formed when fragments of ice in the near-frozen sea continuously rolled around near the shore, slowly collecting more ice and growing in size.

The tides, working with the other currents in the sea, caused the balls to be deposited on the shore where they froze and were coated by more ice and snow. 

If you split the snowballs open, they would consist of concentric bands of sand and slush. 

Similar balls of ice have previously been seen in the Great Lakes of the United States  .

In that case, the ice balls were in the sea. A little further offshore, the lumps of ice were flattened discs, rather than round balls.

This is believed to be due to the calmer conditions of the sea away from the shore.

Additional reporting by Steff Gaulter 

If you split the snowballs open, they would consist of concentric bands of sand and slush. [Anna Taybery/AP]

Source: Al Jazeera News And Agencies