From the dates of 10-8-02 to 10-10-02, my GLG114 class took a field trip to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Field work is by far the meat and potatoes of geology. During these 3 days, we got to get on our hands and knees and experience first hand what it is like to work in the field.
On day 1(10-8-02) we started off heading north on US-23 toward Flint. We stopped for breakfast at McDonalds in Hartland. For some of us, this turned out to be a bad idea. Anyways, we connected with I-75 in Flint and stayed northbound.
As we passed through the West Branch and Roscommon area, we passed over many end moraines. Because of these formations, the soil was very high in clay. The clay content is high because of a stationary glacier. There was also a big outwash plain a little southwest of West Branch. This indicates a moving glacier and means the soil is very high in sand. Our first stop was in Gaylord for a picture stop and lunch. Gaylord is the location of the 45th parallel, which is halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. We had our picture stop at the city limit sign and we had lunch right down the road at a "friend's- house. The "friend- turned out to be our instructor's mother. She fed us scalloped potatoes to go along with all the sandwich stuff and hummice we had in the cooler.
After lunch our next stop was at a scenic turnout along the highway, near Topinabee. End moraines are formed when a glacier is stationary and is dropping off all the lighter clay sediments. From the observation deck we could see an outwash plane. And in this outwash plane was a kettle lake called Burt Lake. This particular type of lake, which is common in Michigan, is formed after a chunk of ice breaks off from the glacier. The ice gets buried and then melts, causing the overlaying dirt to cave in.
A little while after the turnout, we got to the famous Mackinaw Bridge. It was pretty windy that day so I had a hard time driving over it.