Thursday, May 23, 2013

Charlevoix, Michigan

Due to a combination of recent hot and dry conditions in the Great Lakes area as well as limited snowmelt during the 2011 and 2012 winters, Lake Michigan-Huron reached all-time low water levels during 2013.

As the lake level approached almost 1 meter (~3 ft) below average, Fisherman's Island off the coast of Charlevoix, Michigan (in Fisherman's Island State Park) gained a narrow connection to the mainland.  The addition of this little land bridge means the island is now technically a peninsula.

The animation below shows 18 years from April 1994 to April 2012:



The reduction in water levels has exposed rocks and fossils all over the Northwestern Michigan coastline.  If you're a collector, get out there now!  I've found some great halysites, hexagonaria, brachiopods, gastropods, and pelecypods in nearby Traverse Bay.  DO NOT COLLECT IN STATE/NATIONAL PARKS though (you can get fined for that).

You can find it yourself on Google Earth using these coords:     45°17'20"N     85°21'45"W

Check back in two weeks to read a book review by one of my favorite geographers!