Monday, December 31, 2012

Grand Marais Winter Photos

When I went to town the other day I decided to take a few photos.

The still unfrozen bay...

I was told that the break water builders were done, but their equipment is still here. So either they are still not done, or it is too late in the year for them to move their equipment.

I've been told by those who live on the south shore of the bay that sand has already built up in the 200 yard gap.

The pickle barrel...

The week between Christmas and New Years is called by locals as "hell week."  When I owned the brewpub, this was the busiest week of the year.  Although there are still some snowmobiles, I would say the industry is down 50 percent at least.  During the mid-90s, there would have been up to 1,000 machines come through each day with a long line at the only gas station.  As you can see below, there were only a few sleds in line for gas and not more than 100 sleds in town.

My driveway..

Saturday, December 29, 2012

L'Anse and Houghton Photos -- Post 2

Today I'll post the second half of the photos from the time I spent in the L'Anse / Baraga / Houghton area on Christmas.

My son, Kevin...

The photo below was taken from the east shore of Keweenaw Bay looking toward the southwest toward L'Anse.

Ice is starting to form along the bay....

Some photos taken from downtown Houghton...

The photos below are of Scott Falls, located along M28 west of Munising.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Keweenaw Bay Winter Beaches -- Post 1

Happy holidays to all.  Thanks for your understanding regarding my time off from posting daily blog updates.  I must admit, that after only missing a handful of days all year -- it was nice to have a break. 

Progress continues on the online rockhounding adventures.  I reorganized some of the content in the second adventure, which took a couple of days.  I also created several new movies about the Lake Superior region geology.  Today I'll put the final touches on Segment A and continue work on Segment B. 

For Christmas my son and his wife, Kevin and Jericho, flew in from Vermont.  I joined them in the Baraga, MI area, which is where Jeicho's relatives live.  Thanks to all of them for letting me participate in their family's Christmas so that I could also spend time with Kevin and Jericho.

The day after Christmas, Kevin and I went and explored the area located north of L'Anse, MI along the east side of Keweenaw Bay.

In particular, we accessed three different beaches.  The first was located on the coast of the U.P. mainland east of the Abby Point Peninsula and west of the Huron Mountain area.

Although the beach is a bit frozen right now, you could tell that it is much shallower of a beach than those in Grand Marais. 

To the west you can see the end of Abby Point.  The shoreline of the Keweenaw peninsula is beyond Abby Point.

Trees lining the beach...

The ice starting to build up along the shore....

North of L'Anse there is a little town that at one point had a sawmill that was founded by Henry Ford.  Pequaming, an old lumber town was originally home to a Chippewa tribe.  It was named for "Pequa quaming," a narrow neck of land almost surrounded by water.  The water tower shown below still stands on site.

Next we stopped at the Second Sandy Beach.

Continued tomorrow.....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lake Superior Shoreline Photos

Today we are supposed to have a winter storm hit Grand Marais with a possible foot or more of snow.  We have had other storms miss us so far this winter, so we'll see if this one actually develops.

I finished another movie clip yesterday that describes how and when most of the Lake Superior beach rocks formed.  At the end of the video, I included the following shoreline photos.

Monday, December 17, 2012

All About Northern Lights

The weather has not cooperated this past few days relative to hiking.  Temperatures have been in the mid 30s and it has been raining.  As I have said in the past, this is my least favorite weather,  so I did not get outdoors to take any photographs. 

Progress continues with the online rockhounding adventures.  I am more than half way done with the first of the five segments of the second adventure.  Today I will be finishing creating a movie that describes how the Upper Peninsula land mass came to be. 

As I wind down toward launching the online rockhounding adventures, I will probably not post a blog update every day.  I am on the computer so much, that spending an hour or so every day on the blog just adds to the computer time.  So please be patient and understanding.....

For today's posting, I decided to include some more northern lights photos. 

Shawn Malone photograph

In the northern and southern areas near the poles of our planet people are often entertained by mysterious dancing lights in the night time sky. This natural phenomena is  known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora australis' in the south..

These fantastic light displays appear in many colors with green being the most common. Shades of pink, red, yellow, green, blue, and violet can also be seen.  In many cases the lights appear static or move slightly, but they can also appear as scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.

The aurora lights occur when solar winds released from the Sun hit the Earth's upper atmosphere.  The charged particles in these solar winds collide with gas particles in the Earth's atmosphere.  The colors of the aurora lights correlate with the type of gas involved in the collisions.  The most common color of green is produced by oxygen molecules involved in collisions about 60 miles above the Earth (10 km). Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen at heights of up to 200 miles (330 km). Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.

The frequency and intensity of aurora lights depends entirely on the degree of sunspot activity as well as  on the amount of solar winds released by our Sun. This connection between solar activity and auroras was first hypothesized in 1880.

The process that causes northern and southern lights starts in the atmosphere above the Sun.  The incredibly hot temperature above the Sun's surface causes molecules in the solar atmosphere to collide.  These incredibly explosive collisions tear the molecules apart, releasing free electrons and protons.  The Sun's rotation "throws" these subatomic particles into the vacuum of space as solar wind.  Most of the solar wind particles that reach Earth are deflected by our planet's magnetic field. However, our planet's magnetic field is weaker at the north and south poles, which allows some particles to enter the Earth's atmosphere and collide with gas particles. These collisions emit light that we see as aurora borealis and aurora australis.

The lights of the aurora generally extend from 80 kilometres (50 miles) to as high as 640 kilometres (400 miles) above the earth's surface.  It is important to point out that auroral activity is cyclic, peaking roughly every 11 years. The next peak period is 2013.  Since northern lights have been rare in Grand Marais these past few years, we look forward to more of these magnificent displays next year.

The best time to see northern lights is in the winter because there are longer periods of darkness and more nights that have clear skies. Usually the best time of night to check for auroral displays is around midnight.  In some cases the northern lights can go on for hours.  In other cases, they are only visible for a few minutes.

Here are some more of incredible aurora photos from the Internet.

Information and photos for this blog posting has input from: