EDIT: Wow I really messed this one up, sleepily citing an article that gave the dune’s age in the millions of years. Thanks to Tom Burrows for the catch. Let’s see if this information on coastal dunes from the DNR makes more sense:
Michigan’s glacial history provides an explanation for the formation of dunes. The Great Lakes dune complex is relatively young, in terms of geological time. As recently as 16,000 years ago, Michigan was covered with glacial ice thousands of feet thick. This glacial ice contained a mix of boulders, cobbles, sand, and clay. During glacial melting, this deposit was left and is known as glacial drift.
This glacial drift is the source of sand in most of Michigan’s dunes. The sands were either eroded from glacial drift along the coast by wave activity or eroded from inland deposits and carried by rivers and streams. Only the hardest, smallest, and least soluble sand grains were moved. Waves and currents eventually moved these tiny rocks inland, creating beaches along the Great Lakes shoreline.
…Blowouts are saddle shaped or U shaped (parabolic) depressions in a stabilized sand dune, caused by the local destabilization of the dune sands. Blowouts, which originate on the summit or windward face of a dune, are often rapidly formed by the wind, creating narrow channels and exposing plant roots. Blowouts can create interruptions in the shape of parallel dunes that may result in deeply carved indentions called parabolic dunes. It is the combination of interwoven parallel dune ridges and U shaped depressions, including parabolic dunes, that characterizes the classic dunes from Indiana, northward to Ludington, in Michigan.
Awesome Michigan wrote a little about The Bowl at Holland saying:
The Bowl is an gigantic sand bowl, resembling a sort of concave desert.
Along with the other dunes and Lake Michigan itself, The Bowl was carved out of the earth by glaciers millions of years ago and was likely a small lake before drying up.Standing at the center of The Bowl and being surrounded on all sides by enormous walls of sand is quite breathtaking. The landscape is truly like no other. This awesome sight alone makes a trip to Laketown a summer necessity and a great, relaxing place to bring friends and family.
You can also check in there on Foursquare. Here’s another shot from the bowl from all the way back in 2007. Amazing to me how long Michigan in Pictures has endured – thank you all for staying with me!
More dunes on Michigan in Pictures.