For me, one of the coolest things about Michigan is the incredible range of scenery our state offers including positively otherworldly vistas like Michael captured yesterday at Silver Lake Dunes in Silver Lake State Park. See more great shots from Michael in his Parks gallery on Flickr & follow him on Instagram!
Here’s a simply stunning shot from Silver Lake Sand Dunes, which is located on the shore of Lake Michigan between Muskegon & Ludington.
Neil has several more stunning shots from the Silver Lake Dunes on his Facebook page and some great photography (including his 2021 calendar) for sale at neilweaverphotography.com!
Confession: I probably don’t give Silver Lake Dunes State Park enough love. What an incredible place.
In Scientific American Robert S. Anderson, associate professor of earth sciences at the University of California at Santa Cruz explains why regular, wavelike shapes form when the wind blows over the sand on the beach for a long time:
Ripples in sand, found on both beaches and dunes, are one of nature’s most ubiquitous and spectacular examples of self-organization. They do not result from some predetermined pattern in the wind that is somehow impressed on the surface, but rather from the dynamics of individual grains in motion across the surface. They arise whenever wind blows strongly enough over a sand surface to entrain grains into the wind. The subsequent hopping and leaping of these grains is called saltation. Saltating grains travel elongated, asymmetric trajectories: Rising relatively steeply off the bed, their path is then stretched downwind as they are accelerated by drag forces. They impact the sand surface centimeters to tens of centimeters downwind, typically at a low angle, around 10 degrees. It is this beam of wind-accelerated grains impacting the sand surface at a low angle that is responsible for ripples.
“An artificially flattened sand surface will not remain flat for long. (Try it on the beach or on the upwind side of a dune and see for yourself.) Small irregular mottles in the sand surface, perhaps a couple centimeters in wavelength, rapidly arise and grow once the wind starts to blow hard enough to initiate saltation. They then slowly organize themselves into more regular waves whose low crests are aligned perpendicular to the wind direction and begin to march slowly downwind. Typical ripple spacing is about 10 centimeters, whereas the typical height of the crests above the troughs is a few millimeters. The pattern is never perfect, but instead the ripple crests occasionally split or terminate, generating a pattern that looks remarkably like one’s fingerprint.
Read on for a whole lot more including Michigan Sea Grant educator Walt Hoagman explaining how the speed of wind (and water) over sand influences the waves.
A couple months ago, Trish P shared an article from Outside Magazine about findings from British & Michigan researchers that Hiking Makes You Happier:
Researchers from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England evaluated 1,991 participants in England’s Walking for Health program, which hosts nearly 3,000 walks per week for more than 70,000 regular participants. They found that the nature walks were associated with significantly less depression in addition to mitigating the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress. The findings were published in the September issue of Ecopsychology.
Sara Warber, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and senior author of the study, said that the large sample was a defining factor.
“We observed behaviors of a large group, in which some chose to walk and some chose not to, instead of us telling them what to do,” she said. “After 13 weeks, those who walked at least once a week experienced positive emotions and less stress.”
Easy enough! Read on for more, and explore Michigan’s vast trail network at Pure Michigan.