Where on Google Earth #597

In WOGE 596, we headed up the Nile River to the Aswan Dam.

Now, in a guest post, first-time winner Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley (@ConnectedWaters) takes us here:

Where On Google Earth 597

Find the location, and leave a comment describing the important geology/hydrology/etc. of the scene. The person to leave the first correct location/comment gets to host the next WOGE.

Complete rules, hints, and a kmz file of previous locations can be found on Felix’s blog.

Good hunting, and thanks, Stephanie, for the new image!

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4 thoughts on “Where on Google Earth #597”

  1. 41.9223 N, 86.5977 W

    We’re looking at sand dunes of Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan, USA!

    Although my first instinct was that these were landslide scars, a closer look showed they were instead active sand dunes. These dunes formed as sand (primarily quartz from the abundant glacial till) is blown from along the beach inland by the winds which sweep across the lake. Vegetated areas slow the advancing dunes, but in areas where vegetation is unable to take hold, the dunes blow through.

    Warren Dunes and other western Michigan dunes feature parabolic dunes, where irregularities in the shoreline cause the wind to focus, blowing some sand inland. As the dune forms, it continues to focus the wind, creating a larger dune and migrating further inland. These dunes are influenced by storms, particularly during the autumn, winter, and spring, when the lake exhibits its greatest influence over the local climate.

    Further reading: academic guide to the dunes, Michigan DNR, Michigan State University dune description.

    How I got here: The water body is large (non-satellite image), but with little surf. Shadows are consistent with the northern hemisphere, and the vegetation looks like mid-latitude forest. The longshore drift is to the north. Between the little surf and northerly drift, the west coast of the US is out. Where we see rocks, they look very light-colored and unconsolidated, like quartz sand. Western Michigan would have this type of geologic setting (e.g. Sleeping Bear Dunes), and here we are a little further south along the coast!

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    1. Congratulations Inquisitive Rockhopper! This is indeed Warren Dunes State Park in southwest Lower Michigan, USA. I grew up not far from here! So fortunate to see these dunes as a child!
      Glaciation shaped Michigan’s landscapes, including those around Warren Dunes State Park. Indeed the larger dunes around the park are parabolic, and the formation of these high dunes at the park occurred between 13,000 and 4,000 years ago. Albert (2000) has pointed out that dune growth is perpetuated by higher lake levels because erosion increases and more sand is available than when lake levels are lower. High dunes and low dunes represent two major types of coastal dunes at the park, and more generally along the Lake Michigan eastern shoreline. The foredune ridges are low dunes (from 9-15 m high and closer to the lake) and high dunes are over 30 m tall and often have forest growth and are older than the foredunes (Dorr & Eschman 1970). You can read more about the park, its climate and natural environments in this article by Smith et al. (2006).
      It is noteworthy that over 725 vascular plant species have been identified within the ~700 ha boundary of the park, and there are three different forest communities, lowland swamp forests, a variety of shrub wetlands, and beach and dune communities. There are even interdunal wetlands that are characterized as areas where the water table is at the sand surface. According to Smith et al (2006) these wetlands are considered imperilled in Michigan and worldwide.

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