Thursday, July 14, 2011

Devils Lake

Devils Lake

Devil's Lake State Park’s bluffs are part of the Baraboo Range, which scientists believe were formed 1.6 billion years ago, making them one of the most ancient rock outcrops in North America. The Baraboo Range includes the North Range and South Range of hills, which surround a canoe-shaped depression called the Baraboo Valley. The city of Baraboo is near the center of the valley. The north and south ranges meet in the east (just west of Interstate Highway 90-94) and west (at Rock Springs, Wisconsin).

From Sand to Quartzite Rock

Doorway-shaped rock formation
Devil's Doorway was created by water freezing and thawing in cracks in the rock.
DNR Photo
These ancient hills are formed of quartzite rock, which consists of grains of sand tightly cemented together. According to geologists, the sand was deposited by rivers as they drained into shallow seas covering this area a billion years ago. As the sand accumulated, it first formed sandstone (a porous sedimentary rock) and then, under great heat and pressure, became quartzite (a non-porous metamorphic rock).

The Ranges Rise

Some time after the seas withdrew, the quartzite was buckled upwards in such a way as to form the North Range and South Range, with a depression between the ranges. The depression was filled with rocks softer than quartzite.
The area was then dry ground for a very long time. During this period, the Baraboo Valley was formed as the soft deposits in the depression eroded away.
Parfrey's Glen is one such gorge. The glen was eroded by water action because the rock formation there is not quartzite, but a Cambrian sandstone with quartzite rocks embedded in the sandstone.

Underwater Again

New seas re-invaded this area and their sediments accumulated on the land outside the Baraboo Hills, on the sides of the quartzite ranges, in the gorges, and eventually on top of the Baraboo Hills. The gorges were thus filled and the bluffs completely buried under sandy and limey deposits.
After the retreat of these seas, an ancient river or rivers removed most of the sediments from the Baraboo Hills and the surrounding area, thus exposing the quartzite bluffs again, and reopened the Lower Narrows Gap and the Devil's Lake Gap (these gaps may have been partially cut when the Baraboo Valley and the gorges were being formed).
Exposed outcrops of the quartzite that weren't covered by the glacial ice pack were subject to freezing and thawing conditions. Water seeping into cracks in the quartzite expanded as it froze and eventually broke pieces of the bluff away.
The thawing and freezing cycles also formed the piles of broken rock called talus on the slopes of the bluffs.

The Ice Age

The final chapter in this fascinating story took place about 15,000 years ago, when a sheet of ice (the Wisconsin Glacier) crunched into this area. The glacier covered the eastern half of the Baraboo Hills with ice but not the western half. We know this because its outermost boundary is marked by a ridge called a terminal moraine. This ridge consists of rocks and gravel dropped by the glacier as it stood and melted along this boundary.
The Wisconsin Glacier rerouted the ancient river(s) elsewhere and deposited dams of rocks and earth at the two open ends of the Devil's Lake Gap. These damps are part of the terminal moraine. Devil's Lake therefore is between two glacial "plugs" in an abandoned valley of an ancient river.
If there had not been a Wisconsin Glacier, presumably the ancient river(s) would still be flowing through the Lower Narrows and Devil's Lake gaps, and there would not be a Devil's Lake.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cannon Valley Fair - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Emily brought too many sheep to the Cannon Valley guess who learned how to show sheep?   It isn't as easy as it looks!  (Especially when the temp is 100 degrees!)

Luckily for us, Tina parked her car right outside the ring so we could watch the other shows in air conditioned comfort!  We still aren't sure how she pulled this feat of daring, but are very glad she did!

The car in the background.  She wanted to flash the lights and toot the horn for the winners, but we taught her about sheep show etiquette!  Tina did get out to take pictures though!  When we weren't sitting in the chill down car or showing sheep or getting carnies to deliver ice for the sheep, or scamming golf cart rides or eating fried cheese curds and lemonade, we were laughing at the poor suckers that weren't doing these fun things!  What a GREAT friend I am lucky enough to have!

Apparently I didn't do the right setting up thing with my lamb..oh well...didn't want to accidently win and show up the kid!

I believe that this was my debut and my finale in the sheep showing world!  What's next?