Michigan Beach Gem Season

Miners Beach Gems - Munising by Steven M Last

Miners Beach Gems by Steven M Last

The warming temps are definitely bringing out the rockhounds on Michigan’s Great Lakes beaches! Stephen got this beauty shot featuring a rose quartz in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising. See more on his Flickr & happy hunting!

More Michigan rocks & stones on Michigan in Pictures.

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Michigan March Meltdown

Ice Melting by Mark Swanson

Ice Melting by Mark Swanson

While it’s cooler today, yesterday was something to enjoy across the southern half of the state unbelievably balmy temps recorded in places like Kalamazoo (72), Detroit (73), Flint (70) and 72 in St. Joseph where Mark got this sweet shot at Grand Mere Beach a couple weeks ago. Guessing it’s all gone by now!

See more in Mark’s 2022 gallery on Flickr & enjoy your weekend everyone!

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Good morning from Lake Erie’s only Michigan State Park!

Lake Erie Sunrise by Charles Hildebrandt

Lake Erie Sunrise by Charles Hildebrandt

Charles took this photo over the weekend at William C. Sterling State Park in Monroe, which Pure Michigan says is Michigan’s only state park on Lake Erie. The 1300-acre park at the mouth of Sandy Creek is known for walleye fishing and also offers lakefront camping, 7 miles of trails, and over a mile of sandy beach.

Head over to Charles’s Flickr for his latest & have a great week everyone!

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Pebble with a view

Pebble on the beach by Mark Swanson

Pebble on the beach by Mark Swanson

I don’t know the technical term for the process that creates these pebbles on pedestals on sandy beaches in the winter, but I do know I love it!

Mark took this photo last week on Silver Beach in St. Joseph. See more in his 2022 gallery on Flickr.

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Valentine Skies

Valentines Skies #2 by Gary Brink Photography

Valentines Skies #2 by Gary Brink Photography

Gary took this stunning shot at Holland’s “Big Red” lighthouse on Valentine’s Day back in 2017. Head over to his Flickr for the latest & I hope that you all have a lovely week!

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#TBT: Walking with the Icefoot on Agate Beach

Winter morning on Agate Beach by Gary McCormick

Winter morning on Agate Beach by Gary McCormick

Here’s a special Science Term Throwback Thursday from January 14th 8 years ago!

Ernest W. Marshall talks about a common winter feature along considerable stretches of Great Lakes shorelines, the Icefoot, a narrow fringe of ice attached to the coast:

Air and water temperatures must be sufficiently low before an icefoot begins to form. The conditions favorable for icefoot formation are broad open shorelines gradually sloping below water level, and facing so that wind-blown spray is carried inland toward the shore to freeze. The character of growth of an icefoot differs during different periods of the winter. During the course of the winter the icefoot may suffer periods of denudation alternating with periods of accretion. The development of an icefoot can be held at one stage by the early freezing of fast ice offshore. An icefoot can be composed of any combination of frozen spray or lake water, snow accumulations, brash, stranded icefloes, and sand which is either thrown up on the icefoot by wave action or is blown out from the exposed beaches.

Observations of the icefoot along the shorelines of Lakes Superior and Erie indicated that the moderately steep portions of the shore were characterized by narrow terraces composed of frozen slush and brash thrown up by storm winds. The outer edge of this icefoot was often cusp-like in form, resulting from the mechanical and melting action of the waves. The inner portions of the cusps acted to concentrate the wave action, forming blowholes which threw spray back on the icefoot.

You can click to read more.

Gary took this photo at one of my favorite places, Agate Beach on Lake Superior in Grand Marais. In the distance is Grand Sable Dunes & the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. See more in Gary’s Grand Marais Michigan gallery including a shot of a staggeringly huge ice mound & view and purchase his work at Footsore Fotography.

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Leland Blue

via Leelanau.com

Leland Blue Stone by Cortney Brenner

Leland Blue Stone by Cortney Brenner

In last week’s post about an unidentified blue mineral discovered at the Adventure Mine on the Keweenaw Peninsula, I offered my personal theory that the color is due to the same reaction that created “Leland bluestones”. A couple people asked what the heck a Leland blue is, so here you go:

In the Glen Arbor Sun, Sandra Serra Bradshaw shares that Leland Bluestones were born over 100 years ago in the fires of the Leland Lake Superior Iron Company:

Between the years of 1870 to 1884, the Leland Lake Superior Iron Company operated an iron smelter north of the mouth of the river. They supplied the voracious furnace with ore from the Upper Peninsula. The charcoal they needed was made from local maple and beech timber that was produced in 14 beehive kilns that were kept near the smelting furnace. It produced up to an amazing 40 tons of iron per day. In 1884, the plant was sold to the Leland Lumber Co., which operated a sawmill on the site. Other sawmills and shingle mills operated in Leland during the years between 1885 through 1900.

Back then Leland was a smog-filled industrial town, the main industry of which was anchored by the iron company. The smelting industry failed because of large overhead costs and the lack of a good harbor in Leland. Interestingly, the remains of the industry, including heaps of slag, were dumped into the harbor and today, that has resulted in something as a precious collectible for many. As raw ore was heated, the desired iron ore was separated from various natural impurities. When those impurities cooled, it resulted in a stone-like slag. Hence the Leland Blue Stones were born!

The Leland Blue is a bit of a misleading title to this little man-made gem as it is the mix of blue glass with other chemicals — but this varying chemical medley can also cause the slag to appear in colors of purple, gray, or in shades of green. Today, people relish finding this slag material on the shores of Leland’s beaches. It is not only collectible as a stone, but also sought for as jewelry.

More in the Sun.

This sweet photo was taken by Cortney Brenner on the beach in Leland back in 2017. See more from Cortney on her Flickr!

PS: I promise no posts from Leelanau for at least the rest of the week!

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City of Gold

City of Gold IX by Andrew McFarlane

City of Gold IX by Andrew McFarlane

OK here’s one of my pics of the frozen Lake Michigan shore of Leelanau County from back in January of 2009. I chose one with sun because I would like to see the sun! See more in my Frozen Shore gallery on Flickr and STAY WARM!!

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The Great Lake Michigan

The Great Lake Michigan by Kate Dailey

The Great Lake Michigan by Kate Dailey

Michigan has 3,288 miles of coastal shoreline, more than any other state except Alaska, and this weekend is the perfect time to get yourself to the Great Lakes coast before summer is gone!

Kate took this photo earlier in August. See more on her Flickr!

PS: With 1640 miles of shoreline, Lake Michigan has just about half of that coastline! See much more of Lake Michigan on Michigan in Pictures!

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The Stuff DREAMS Are Made of

The stuff DREAMS are made of by Shelbydiamondstar Photography

The Stuff DREAMS Are Made of by ShelbyDiamondstar Photography

Shelby got an absolutely stunning shot of the aurora borealis on Saturday night on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Head over to ShelbyDiamondstar Photography on Facebook for more!

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