#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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2021 Geminid Meteor Shower on the way!

Milky Way over Au Sable Point Lighthouse by Michigan Nut Photography

Milky Way over Au Sable Point Lighthouse by Michigan Nut Photography

EarthSky says that the annual Geminid Meteor Shower that will peak next week is one of the year’s best:

The Geminids are a reliable shower for those who watch around 2 a.m. local time from a dark-sky location. We also often hear from those who see Geminid meteors in the late evening hours. This year, a waxing gibbous moon will be above the horizon during peak time for viewing. But it’ll set shortly afterwards, leaving the sky dark for watching meteors. Thus the best time to watch for Geminid meteors in 2021 is likely before dawn – say, from around 3 a.m. to dawn – on the morning of December 14.

It’s a somewhat narrow window for meteor-watching. But still worth a look!

On a dark night, near the peak of the shower, you can often catch 50 or more meteors per hour. On an optimum night for the Geminids, it’s possible to see 150 meteors per hour. A new moon on December 4 means that the peak of the shower coincides with a moon just a few days past first-quarter phase.

Click through for all the details but remember the key to success is finding dark skies!!

John took this back in May 2014 at the Au Sable Lighthouse in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. See more in his Starry Nights gallery on Flickr & view and purchase prints & calendars on his website.

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#TBT Miners Castle Loses a Turret

Freezing, photo by Lars Jensen

Here’s a throwback Thursday post with an article originally published April 14, 2006 on Absolute Michigan…

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore reports that one of the two turrets on Miner’s Castle is no more:

On Thursday morning, April 13, 2006, the northeast turret of Miners Castle collapsed. One turret remains on Miners Castle, the best-known feature of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The collapse was reported via cell phone by fisherman in the area, according to chief ranger Larry Hach.Most of the rock fell north and into Lake Superior, and there were no injuries. The lower overlook platform near Miners Castle appears to be unaffected.

While the rockfall at Miners Castle on April 13 was startling, such events are not rare along the Pictured Rocks escarpment. At least five major falls have occurred over the past dozen years: 1) two different portions of Grand Portal Point, 2) the eastern side of Indian Head just east of Grand Portal Point, 3) Miners Falls just below the (now modified) viewing platform, and 4) beneath the lip of Munising Falls (along the former trail that went behind the cascade).

All the rockfalls involved the same rock unit, the Miners Castle Member of the Munising Formation. Rock units are named for places where they were first technically described. The Miners Castle Member consists of crumbly cross-bedded sandstone that is poorly cemented by secondary quartz, according to U.S. Geological Survey Research Ecologist Walter Loope.

More from Lars in his Michigan album.

The Facebook Thing…

Pictured Rocks by Tudor ap Mac

I wanted to make sure everyone was aware that I’m making periodic updates on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook.

View Tudor’s photo of the Petit Portal in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and a lot more including this stunning panorama in his Upper Peninsula album!

The Pink Sands of Sand Point

Pink Sand at Sand Point, photo courtesy Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore shared this photo yesterday saying:

Is this sand pink? Yes it Is! The pink sand on the beach can be found on the northeast corner of Sand Point at the very end of Sand Point Rd. The pink sand is actually garnet that has eroded from one of the sandstone layers of the Pictured Rock cliffs. The garnet then washed up at Sand Point and makes a unique pink sand beach.

View it bigger on Facebook, and visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for much more information on Sand Point and other amazing places in one of Michigan’s most amazing parks.

PS: Better follow PicturedRocksNL on Facebook too if you want to know about things like being able to watch a sunset from a lighthouse.

Breaking Fall at Gerlach Point

Breaking Fall – Gerlach Point, photo by Aaron C. Jors

Gerlach Point is located east of Miner’s Beach in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

View Aaron’s photo from fall of 2015 bigger, see more in his Michigan slideshow, and view & purchase more photos at Aaron C. Joors Photography.

Lots more from Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures!

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!

Time for the 2017 Michigan Ice Festival!

dairyland-ice-climbing

dairyland, photo by Wilkinson Visual

Wilkinson Visual writes that this photo shows David Hixenbaugh scrapping up dairyland on a blustery day out on the lakeshore. Great climbing, very unique features formed by the wind making for an exciting top out!

The annual Michigan Ice Fest runs today through Sunday (Feb 15-19, 2017) in Munising. It’s an annual celebration of the sport of ice climbing that brings together some of the world’s best climbers and experts for climbing exhibitions, seminars, guided climbs, get togethers and much more! Click the link above for all the details.

View the photo bigger on the Wilkinson Visuals Facebook and visit their website for all kinds of photos including this cool Michigan Ice Climbing Gallery.

Here’s climbing video from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by David (@alpine_elevation on Instagram):

Chapel Rock Revisit

Chapel Revisit by Rudy Malmquist

Chapel Revisit, photo by Rudy Malmquist

View Rudy’s shot from August of 2014 background bigtacular and see more including a nice pic of nearby Spray Falls in his slideshow.

Lots more about Chapel Rock on Michigan in Pictures.

See for miles & miles at Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by supernova9

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, photo by supernova9

Maybe if I looked at this view every day for 50 years I would get tired of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Maybe.

View supernova9’s photo bigger and see more in his Michigan’s Upper Peninsula slideshow.

More Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures.