600 million years ago Northern Illinois was part of a broad upland that was undergoing extensive erosion. The erosion wore
the land down to near sea level. Erosion that forms a near sea
level surface is called a peneplain. This peneplain was submerged several times by sea water and several layers of sediment were laid on the surface.
Starved Rock State Park was once covered with 3000-5000
feet of glacial ice on and off over a course of 700,000 years.
Glacial ice can move forwards never backwards. When a glacier is said to be retreating, it is actually melting faster than it is
moving forward. As glacial ice can only move forward, it picks
up rocks and carries them in the ice. When the ice melts, these
rock particles are dropped at the point of melting. All dropped
rock material is called drift. Drift found at the point of melting is
called till. Till is unsorted glacial drift. When the glacier is stagnant, the drift accumulates into a pile called an end moraine.
After the glacier has retreated, it leaves a range of irregular hills
which are the end moraine. The melt waters of the glacier were
so great that they would accumulate behind the moraines and
form vast lakes. The streams that drain these lakes were gigantic compared to today’s streams. The Illinois Valley was
formed by one of these streams.
15,000 years ago during the Wisconsinan Glacial Age, the glacial meltwater of a large lake overtopped the Marseilles Moraine and formed Lake Ottawa behind the Farm Ridge Moraine
that ran north to south along what we call Starved Rock State
Park today. This lake drained when it overtopped the Farm
Ridge Moraine cutting a channel that became the Illinois River.
Repeated meltwater floods of the Kankakee Torrent poured
through the channels cut through the Marseilles and Farm
Ridge Moraines establishing the drainage for the Illinois, Fox,
and Vermillion Rivers. This repeated drainage also cut the outcrops , overlooks, and 18 canyons that you see today.
South Dakota’s deposits of Sioux Quartzite are red and sometimes pink in color and estimated to be two billion years old. Almost half the life of the planet itself.
Some of the quartzite, particularly in the southeast side of the state can contain a soft rare mineral called catlinite and is used by the native americans for making caluments, more commonly called peace pipes.
Don’t let a snowy forecast stop you from setting aside time for a enjoying the great outdoors. Head to the woods for a peaceful hike, snow shoeing or cross country skiing.
Turkey Run State Park, Indiana
For picturesque views!
You’ll marvel at the natural geologic wonders of this beautiful park as you hike along its famous trails. Nestled along State Road 47 southwest of Crawfordsville, the park offers the chance to explore deep, sandstone ravines, walk along stands of aged forests, and enjoy the scenic views along Sugar Creek.
Skating with the Chicago skyline as your backdrop!
With its twinkling tree lights and stunning skyline backdrop, the iconic ice skating rink in Millennium Park is a must-stop each winter season.
More than 100,000 ice skaters glide, spin, twirl — and undoubtedly, stumble and fall! — on the downtown ice rink each year. Take to the ice yourself or just soak in the views. Right above the rink is Millennium Park’s famed Cloud Gate sculpture. Snap photos of your reflection in the shiny, snow-dusted “Bean” and watch the crowds below during your winter holiday visit. If you’re in need of a warm-up, head into the Park Grill Cafe on-site for hot chocolate and other snacks.
Door County, Wisconsin
Sightseeing along frozen Lake Michigan
Many people call Door County the Cape Cod of the Midwest, and that’s no less true in winter, when snow covers the picturesque northeast Wisconsin peninsula. Shops, galleries and inns stay open for visitors who come for cozy shopping and peaceful walks along frozen Lake Michigan beaches. Sleigh rides, trolley tours and wine tastings round out a romantic weekend.
Interstate State Park, Wisconsin and Minnesota
Hardy hikers can snowshoe on fresh white snow
Interstate Park comprises two adjacent state parks on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, both names Interstate State Park. The staddle the Dalles of the beautiful St. Croix River, a deep basalt gorge with glacial potholes and other rock formations.
Southwest Lake Michigan shore
A stunning winter lighthouse road trip landscape!
Every winter, lake-effect storms leave southwest Michigan’s lighthouses and sand dunes cloaked in ice and snow. From South Haven to New Buffalo and beyond winter is the perfect time to take a road trip along Lake Michigan, especially since the beautiful scenes of winter are in full force now.
Patterns are everywhere. They can create harmony. They can be used as a leading line to the main subject. Whether you are in a city or in nature, with a practiced eye you will find these patterns. Below is one example. Visit Best of the Midwest on Instagram to see more.
Hidden in the landscape of South Dakota was this little cutie.
The tranquil beauty of winter along Lake Michigan.