Coastal dune environments of southeastern Lake Michigan: Geomorphic histories and contemporary processes
Suzanne J. DeVries-Zimmerman*, Edward C. Hansen, Timothy G. Fisher, Brian E. Bodenbender, Brian P. Yurk, Deanna van Dijk, 2018. "Coastal dune environments of southeastern Lake Michigan: Geomorphic histories and contemporary processes", Ancient Oceans, Orogenic Uplifts, and Glacial Ice: Geologic Crossroads in America’s Heartland, Lee J. Florea
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This field guide discusses the dune types and processes, ecology, and geomorphic history of the largest freshwater dune systems on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. From north to south, stops include P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, Gilligan Lake/Green Mountain Beach Dune, Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, and Grand Mere and Warren Dunes State Parks, Michigan. All of the sites are low, perched transgressive dune complexes. Moving from the lake inland, the typical dune complex in this area consists of incipient foredunes, an established foredune ridge, a parabolic dune complex, and a back-dune ridge complex. All stages of ecological succession are typically present in the larger dune complexes. Surface changes in Lake Michigan dunes are driven by spatial gradients in sand flux, which, in turn, are determined by a complex interaction among wind dynamics, vegetation patterns, and preexisting topography. Surface change patterns are modified by seasonal effects, with the majority of sand transport being associated with strong storms in the autumn, winter, and early spring. Sand can be temporarily stored in niveolian deposits during the winter, leading to oversteepened slopes, which collapse during the spring thaw. Current dune complexes largely formed during and after the rise in lake levels to the Nipissing high lake level, ca. 4.5 ka. Broad fields of relatively low dunes developed during the lake-level drop following the Nipissing high. Beginning with the rise to the Algoma high lake level, ca. 3.2 ka, the lakeward edges of these fields were episodically reworked, forming large parabolic dune complexes. A period of widespread dune stability formed the Holland Paleosol, a spodic inceptisol. Dune growth and migration resumed prior to European settlement of the area and continues today. Foredune complexes grow wider and higher during periods of low lake levels, but narrow during periods of high lake level due to scarping at their lakeward edges.
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This volume, prepared for the 130th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Indianapolis, includes compelling science and field trips in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. A wealth of geologic and human history collides in the Midwest, a confluence that led to the growth of America's industry over the past two centuries. Guides in this volume depict this development from the establishment of New Harmony, the birthplace of American geology, through the construction of Indianapolis's modern skyline. Underpinning this growth were the widespread natural resources-limestone, coal, and water-that built, powered, and connected a growing nation. Take a journey through the Heartland to sand dunes, outcrops, quarries, rivers, caves, and springs that connect Paleozoic stratigraphy with the assembly of Gondwana, continental glaciation with Quaternary geomorphology and hydrology, and landscape with the human environment.