From the Archives of 2007—4
March 23, 2021
In August 2007 my husband and I took one of our many trips to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We stayed a few nights in Grand Marais and stopped for a few hours outside Ishpeming on our way to Copper Harbor.
1 One of the things I love about the U.P. is how few people you see outside the towns. (This is the guy I went with.)
2 This is the Devil’s Logslide, also shown in the previous photograph, outside Grand Marais.
3 The sand of the log-slide dunes comes in colors that range through pink and orange to brown.
4 As the dunes slide little by little into Lake Superior, they uncover embedded rocks.
5 As water runs down the dunes, it creates interesting patterns.
6 Without any clue to scale this could be a gorge in the landscape large enough for a boat. In this case, it would have to be a tiny boat. The gorge was never more than a foot across.
7 I wonder how the zig-zag patterns form.
8 The sand designs were endlessly fascinating.
9 In some places the contrast between the base sand layer and the washed-down layer was striking.
10 I wonder what it would be like to stand in the rain and watch these forms being created.
11 Farther west and north, outside Copper Harbor, the look of the landscape is completely different.
12 For one thing, large rocks line and protrude into the lake.
13 The rocks are home to lichens and sparsely scattered plants.
14 Although they calm down by the time they reach the small coves, Lake Superior’s waves can be more vigorous farther out than they are near Grand Marais.
15 There seem to be at least three kinds of orange lichen. My best guess is that these specimens are Xanthoria parietina. YouTube has a nice short-but-informative video about X. parietina, showing its growth on a tree trunk.
16 Most of the shoreline around Copper Harbor is stones like this.
17 This piece of driftwood, worse for wear, washed up on the cobble beach.
18 The spot we visited near Ishpeming is called Jasper Knob.
19 Jasper Knob is part of the Negaunee Iron Formation.
20 It is a banded iron formation. The layers consist of jasper (the red rock) and hematite (the silvery rock).
21 I’m delighted to tell you that some biogeologists believe that banded iron formations were formed by my old pals, the iron bacteria.