The Moon and the Vortex

July 12, 2014

Moon and the Ice Blob

The Moon and the Ice Blob, photo by Cherie

One of the cool things about having a Michigan photo group with nearly 200,000 photos to draw from is that I can find a photo for pretty much any post. Thanks all of you who share in the Absolute Michigan photo group!

Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd have a nice feature on one of my favorite blogs EarthSky titled What is a Supermoon? It begins:

We in astronomy used to call them perigean new moons or perigean full moons, that is, new or full moons closely coinciding with perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. But, in accordance with the rapidly evolving skylore of the modern world, we now enjoy calling them supermoons. The name supermoon was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be the accepted term for most people only in the past few years.

Are supermoons hype? In our opinion … gosh, no, just modern folklore. And they can cause real physical effects, such as larger-than-usual tides. The year 2014 has a total of five supermoons. They are the two new moons of January, and the full moons of July, August and September. Next supermoon: July 12.

Read on for more about tonight’s supermoon and supermoons in general.

Of course, the supermoon isn’t the only natural phenomenon enjoying hype this weekend, because our old friend the Polar Vortex is returning for an encore. Or not, according to Dr Jeff Masters of Weather Underground in the Freep:

It is not, however, the second coming of a polar vortex, something the National Weather Service says it regrets tweeting earlier this week.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters says the weather pattern is similar to those dreaded words, but the key difference is that the chilly air mass isn’t coming directly from the arctic.

Masters says that Typhoon Neoguri in Japan altered the path of the jet stream and allowed polar air to spill out of Canada. That means next week’s temperatures will be as much as 15 degrees cooler than normal in the Midwest and could reach 90 in the normally temperate Pacific Northwest.

More at the Freep and also check out mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa’s take on the battle between El Nino and the Polar Vortex. He talks about El Nino’s chances to push the jet stream northward. If it’s not strong enough, winter 2015 could be ruled by the polar vortex again. Go El Nino, Go El Nino!

Cherie took this photo in February of 2009 on Belle Isle. See it bigger on Flickr and see more in her Belle Isle Slideshow.

More supermoons and more polar vortex on Michigan in Pictures!

Lake Superior Thunderhead

Lake Superior Thunderhead, photo by Lake Superior Photo

So far this summer we’ve gotten some free fireworks show such as the storm that swept through last weekend. Shawn wrote:

It was fireworks over the lake last night, my dog was not pleased, however I was ecstatic. Lightning was going off a couple times a second and it did not let up, but stayed mostly in the clouds. I watched this for over an hour, and it just drifted by, stars overhead the entire time – go big screen to see the stars right top of frame.

So… what are you waiting for? Go background big and see more at Lake Superior Photo on Facebook.

Have a great weekend everyone!

2014-houghton-blitz-2978

2014-houghton-blitz-2978, photo by Christopher Schmidt

“Our children were born here and now we have five grandchildren to celebrate also. We have proud geological roots here. We think the shaft should be bright on our birthdays, and this would be a good way to support geoheritage and the QMHA. We hope other local families will consider doing this.”
~Bill and Nanno Rose

Apparently, you can make a donation and have the Quincy Mine Shaft lit up in honor of a loved one. Click the link for details!

The photo above shows the Quincy Mine Hoist, part of the Quincy Mine complex, an extensive set of copper mines near Hancock. The mine was owned by the Quincy Mining Company . The Quincy Mine was known as “Old Reliable,” paying a dividend to investors every year from 1868 through 1920 and operated between 1846 and 1945. The Quincy Mine page on Wikipedia says (in part):

The Quincy Mine was founded in 1846 by the merger of the Northwest Mining Company and the Portage Mining Company. Due to poor communication between government offices, these two speculative mining companies had purchased the same tracts of land during the mining rush of the early 1840s. The directors met and decided to merge, with significant investment coming from Massachusetts (the town of Quincy, Massachusetts lent the mine its name). While many other copper mines were founded at the same time, the Quincy Mine became the most successful of the 1840s-era mines, and was the country’s leading copper-producing mine from 1863 (when it exceeded the production of the Minesota Mine) through 1867 (after which it was exceeded by the Calumet and Hecla).

The mine was the first Michigan copper mine to switch from fissure mining to amygdaloid mining, when the recently discovered Pewabic amygdaloid lode was found to cross Quincy property in 1856. High-grade fissure veins contained large, pure masses of copper, but the masses could take days or even months to extract, at high cost. Amygdaloid mining consisted of extracting lower-grade strataform orebodies in the “amygdaloid zones,” the upper portions of basalt lava flows. Rock bearing small pockets of copper could be blasted out immediately and processed elsewhere at much lower cost. Amygdaloid mining proved much more productive than fissure mining, and the size and richness of the Pewabic lode in particular allowed the Quincy to produce profits for 53 consecutive years. The Quincy company expanded laterally along the lode by buying out adjacent properties. The company bought the Pewabic mine in 1891, the Mesnard and the Pontiac in 1897, and the Franklin mine in 1908. This helped the mine survive longer than almost all other Keweenaw copper mining companies, except the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company and the Copper Range Company.

To attract a better class of worker, the Quincy Mining Company built and maintained housing for the workers. Over the course of operations, the types of housing ranged from simple tents in the early days, to complete three story houses shortly before the mine’s shutdown. The executives on the east coast wanted to build more elaborate and fancy homes with amenities such as electricity and running water. However, the on-site managers didn’t think it was necessary for the miners to have such high-class dwellings. But the east coast executives realized that if they offered nicer homes to the workers, the miners were more likely to stay, raise families, and be less likely to leave the area or transfer to another mining company. This strategy proved effective and helped the Quincy Mining Company retain its status as one of the premier mining companies in the region.

View Chris’s photo background bigatacular and see more in his Keweenaw Lightning slideshow.

More about the Quincy Mine on Michigan in Pictures including the second picture posted!

Beautiful Beast

May 13, 2014

Beautiful Beast

Beautiful Beast, photo by Jamie MacDonald

Yesterday saw strong storms in southeast Michigan including some tornado sightings (click that link for photos).

Jamie took this shot last week with a Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye. Check his photo out bigger and see more in his Stormy Weather slideshow.

More wild & wonderful weather on Michigan in Pictures.

Amongst Lovely Things

May 2, 2014

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things. – Plato

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.
~Plato (photo by Jess Clifton)

Here’s hoping you have a chance this weekend to spend a little time amongst lovely things.

View Jess’s photo background big and see more in her Fabulous Fog slideshow.

 

Bring the rain

April 23, 2014

Green by kellyanne

Untitled, photo by kellyanne berg

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
~Roger Miller

View Kellyanne’s photo bigger and see more in her Rain slideshow.

More rain on Michigan in Pictures.

Menominee Ice Shoves

April 19, 2014

Everyone came out to see the ice shoves

Everyone came out to see the ice shoves, photo by Ann Fisher

While much of the state is enjoying springlike weather, folks in northern Michigan and the UP are still going toe to toe with a winter that will not quit. In solidarity, here’s one more wintry shot.

It comes from Ann Fisher in Menominee and shows the large “ice shoves” or “ice push” that came off Lake Michigan last Sunday. In Ice Shove: Giant Ice Slabs Invade Great Lakes Shorelines, Jon Erdman of the Weather Channel explains:

An ice shove is a rapid push of free-floating lake or sea ice onshore by wind. Strong winds from the same direction over, say, a 12 to 24 hour period, are enough to drive large chunks and plates of ice ashore.

The initial slabs or blocks of ice will slow down momentarily when reaching land, creating a traffic jam of ice piling behind and on top. The result is a massive ice pile often over 10 feet high, surging ashore in a matter of minutes, surrounding and damaging everything in their path, including trees, sod, fences, and homes.

Read on at Weather.com for more including the much bigger ice shoves in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and a look at the most widespread ice coverage on record for mid-April – over 39% of the Great Lakes! You can see some more photos from Fox6 in Menominee and if you head over to Absolute Michigan, you can look back to March of 2009 and some a CNN video of the crazy massive ice shoves on Saginaw Bay.

View Ann’s photo background big and see more in her Ice slideshow.

More ice on Michigan in Pictures.

First Flowers of Spring

First Flowers of Spring, photo by Bill Dolak

Although this photo is from a year and two days ago, reports are starting to roll in of crocus sightings. That’s good enough for me – set a course for Spring, Warp 6!

Check it out background bigtacular and see more in Bill’s Flowers slideshow.

There’s more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures and in case you were feeling wimpy after March, UpNorth Live reports that March 2014 was indeed a lion!

In the Month of March the average temperature for these cities were well below normal. March was 10 degrees below normal in Houghton Lake and 11 degrees below normal in Gaylord. This past March was the 3rd coldest on record in Alpena, and in both Gaylord and Houghton Lake it was the coldest on record!

Crosseyed & Snowblind

March 3, 2014

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl, photo by Sherri & Dan

Enough with the vortexes already.

Sherry & Dan took their photo of a snowy owl near Muskegon. background bigtacular and see more in their 100+ photo Owls slideshow.

More about snowy owls on Michigan in Pictures.

Shipping Lane

Shipping Lane, photo by rellet17

Winter 2014 has been a big challenge to keep up with for road crews and homeowners, and it’s a challenge that doesn’t end at the shoreline!

On Friday, Ross got a chance ride aboard the US Coast Guard Icebreaker Bristol Bay as it opened a path for shipping traffic on Lake Saint Clair. The captain told him the ice has only been this dense one other time in the past 30 years! The Coast Guard says:

The USCGC BRISTOL BAY is one of just two Bay-class cutters that work in conjunction with a special barge. BRISTOL BAY the second of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 140-foot icebreaking tugs. She is named after the body of water formed by the Alaskan peninsula which empties into the Bering Sea. BRISTOL BAY was built by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Co. in 1978. She was commissioned in Detroit in 1979.

Designed by U.S. Coast Guard engineers, the BRISTOL BAY’s primary responsibility is opening and maintaining icebound shipping lanes in the Great Lakes. Bay-class tugs are designed to continuously break at least 20 inches of hard, freshwater ice. The ships can break more than 3 feet of ice by backing and ramming. The Bay tugs have a special hull air lubrication system that helps extract the ship from thick ice and improves ice breaking ability at slower speeds.

View Ross’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his ice breaking slideshow.

PS: A few weeks ago I came across this video of more Great Lakes icebreaking action, showing the Icebreaker Mackinaw and others clearing a path from Sault Ste Marie down the St Marys River that you might enjoy. It was shot from the wheelhouse of the CSL Assiniboine.

There’s more ice and more winter wallpaper to be found on Michigan in Pictures!

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