Beach Stones and Sand Formations: A Michigan Rock Hound's Pictorial Paradise
Brief February Snow Melt Reveal Beach Stone Clusters
Rare Stones on Lake Michigan Beach
I've had a fascination for stones ever since I was a little girl. These days I love to collect them and spread them all around my garden landscape. Years ago, after moving into the region bordering Van Buren and Allegan Counties of Southwest Michigan, I was fascinated by the discovery of Septarium (not Septarian) brown stones. These weather smoothed stones are extremely rare and are found only in one other location around the globe; curiously, in India. The reddish brown stone is the bedrock here, it's a type of sedimentary mud stone; not all possess the telltale veining. The white veins of the Septarium are filled with a type of calcite. Another name for them sometimes is Turtle Stone, obviously due to resemblance of a turtle shell pattern. Sand smoothed granite and limestone are other common stones found nearby the brown stones. The deep gray and other various colored stones provide a striking contrast from the warm reddish brown tones!
Earlier this week we enjoyed a temporary relief from winter with 50 degree temps. As a result, the snow melt replenished the ravine that empties into Pier Cove with a steady stream of crystal clear water. It even caused a washout over the culdesac on one lane of the road to the beach. The steady flow of snow melt has uncovered the secret glory of the stones. The smooth stones become buried under sand during summer months so it's a rare and much appreciated sight for this rock hound.
More Meltdown Explained by Fossillady
- Meltdown at Pier Cove Beach; a photo essay
A history, tidbits, poetry and the wonders of mother nature's natural occurrences along this quaint Lake Michigan beach front known as Pier Cove beautifully photographed and presented!
Snow Melt Formations
With the rapid snow melted, unusual patterns in the sand created by the wind, waves and the former frosty cover, are finally revealed. Actually, much of the sand formations hold their shape for days even on the eroded and steep banks along the creek. The reason being is because the banks are actually a mixture of ice and snow stabilizing the sprinkly nature of the sand.
More about the ice shelf and dangers of melt on Lake Michigan by Fossillady
- Solid Shoreline and the Polar Vortex of 2014
A photographic odyssey and essay explaining the progression and formation of ice shelves on The Great Lakes before and after the 2014 historic polar vortex event; includes some hidden dangers!
Snow Mounds Pose Secret Danger
There were many beach lovers coming and going this particular February day in 2011. Some of them dared walk beyond the shoreline onto ice covered Lake Michigan. When standing on it you can hear the trickles of water moving under the ice, and cracking sounds too. A few people did fall in, but luckily the water isn't too deep on the shore side of the 25ft ice piles. The danger is just beyond those huge ice mounds. Unfortunately, every year when temps rise, someone on the western shores of the Lake Michigan drowns from ice and snow giving way under their feet. It's only stable to walk on as long as you don't venture anywhere near the edge. From the vantage point on top of the ice hills you have no way of knowing if your walking on the edge of a hollowed out overhang. It's best to keep off them soon as the meltdown begins.
Michigan Rock Books
I went back to Pier Cove Beach the next day. A sprinkling of ice snow mix began to fall on the beach with a million tink, tink, tinks! Aaaah, the sounds of nature! The barrage of new snow landed between the stones illuminating them from their usual neutral sandy colored backdrop.