#TBT Jungle Love in Prehistoric Michigan

Jungle Love, photo by Matt Stangis

The Rapidian has a feature on prehistoric Michigan’s tropical seas, jungles and inhabitants that’s a great read and the ultimate Throwback Thursday! Here’s a small slice:

After about 60 million years, warm, shallow seas came down again from the Arctic and covered Michigan during the Silurian period. At this time the land would have been in a subtropical climate that gave rise to large coral reefs across the state. Fossil findings show that the largest and oldest reef extends through the center of the Upper Peninsula. A species of coral that lived during this time period would eventually become fossilized and become what we refer to as Petoskey Stones.

The seas retreated over time, leaving a desert scattered with fossilized remains that eventually formed the limestone that is located over one hundred and twenty feet below us today. The sections of this exposed limestone is what created the Grand Rapid’s famous rapids. Much of the salt deposits that were left from retreating seas of this period are still mined in Detroit.

The Devonian period around 400 million years ago saw the rise of vertebrates in Michigan. North America was covered with up to 40 percent of water. There were a great number of fish swarming the salt and fresh water seas. The Ganoid species were in a crude state of evolution. Many of them had armor plating with two of their relatives, the Gar Pike and the Sturgeon, still existing in Great Lakes today. Primitive plants, such as the seed fern, developed from marine algae. On land the Tiktaalik, the link between finned fish and early amphibians, started to use its muscular fins to drag itself around land.

…At the end of the Carboniferous Period, known as the Pennsylvanian subperiod, Michigan was a semi-tropical jungle featuring primitive vegetation. Ferns without bark, some of which bloomed scentless unattractive flowers, grew to almost 100 feet. Millions of generations of trees grew and died in the jungle. The trees that fell in the swampy parts of the jungle were covered up by water and soil that became rock over time. The forces of time and pressure on these trees would eventually see this prehistoric jungle become the coal basin that sits underneath a large area of the U.S. including the upper northeast part of Kent county.

In the sky above one foot long dragon flies swarmed in droves on the ground and cockroaches the size of a man’s palm crawled around. Reptiles started to appear, evolving from amphibians, not dependent on water to lay their amniotic eggs. Towards the end of this period the rain forests gave way to deserts which decreased the amphibian populations and caused an evolutionary shift in reptiles.

Definitely click through for more – there are some cool links as well!

I’m pretty sure Matt took this photo at ArtPrize in 2013. View it background bigilicious and see more in his slideshow.

Of winter & spring

Winters, photo by Waseem Akbar

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
-Anne Bradstreet

Am I the only one who feels like Winter really mailed it in this year? Still, I am not going to stand in the way of the cycle of the seasons – bring on the Spring!

View Waseem’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

22-Degree Radius Halo

22 degrees at Van’s Beach, photo by Andrew McFarlane

Atmospheric Optics is an excellent resource for rainbows and similar phenomena. Their page on 22-degree halos says:

22º radius halos are visible all over the world and throughout the year. Look out for them (eye care!) whenever the sky is wisped or hazed with thin cirrus clouds. These clouds are cold and contain ice crystals in even the hottest climes.

The halo is large. Stretch out the fingers of your hand at arms length. The tips of the thumb and little finger then subtend roughly 20°. Place your thumb over the the sun and the halo will be near the little finger tip. The halo is always the same diameter regardless of its position in the sky. Sometimes only parts of the complete circle are visible.

Much smaller coloured rings around the sun or moon are a corona produced by water droplets rather than ice crystals.

Lots more at Atmospheric Optics!

See the photo bigger and view more on my Instagram.

More rainbows, sundogs, etc. on Michigan in Pictures – seriously cool stuff in here folks!

Dawn on the Vernal Equinox

Suttons Bay … vernal equinox sunrise panorama, photo by Ken Scott Photography

Monday’s Michigan in Pictures is coming to you a little early so you have a chance to be aware of the vernal equinox tomorrow morning (Monday, March 20, 2017) at 6:29 AM EST. EarthSky editor Deborah Byrd’s article on the vernal equinox has a ton of great information, video, and illustrations and explains:

…there’s nothing official about it, it’s traditional to say the upcoming March or vernal equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. This equinox does provide a hallmark for the sun’s motion in our sky, marking that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north … At the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally. Night and day are approximately equal in length. The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).

Read on for more including how you can mark due east and west from any location on the equinox!

View the photo bigger, get ready for the season with Ken’s Spring slideshow, and definitely join 25,000+ followers of Ken Scott Photography on Facebook!

Below is another shot from the same morning – Suttons Bay Sunrise … morning findings  featuring a formation of geese at the very top!

A Little Light Changes Everything

A Little Light Changes Everything, photo by John Gessner

I hope that you get a chance to get out there this weekend and let the sunlight in!

View John’s photo bigger and see more in his Michigan Water slideshow.

May you find your pot of gold on St Patrick’s Day

Rainbow and fog bank over the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, photo by Ann Fisher

May you have all the happiness
And luck that life can hold
And at the end of your rainbows
May you find a pot of gold.
~ Old Irish Blessing

A very happy St. Patrick’s Day and health & good fortune to you all!

View Ann’s photo background bigtacular and see more in her 2016 UP slideshow.

Lots more St. Patrick’s Day on Michigan in Pictures!

Michigan Tough: Daffodil Edition

Hopefully the daffodils are tougher than I am, photo by Bill Dolak

Bill took this shot yesterday at Celery Flats Park in Portage where it got down into the teens the night before.

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in his Portage, Michigan slideshow.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.