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Thread: Mysteries of the Driftless -- Great River Road section and more

  1. #1

    Mysteries of the Driftless -- Great River Road section and more

    Bit of personal history -- I was born in southern Minnesota and lived in the Twin Cities area as a small child, then have driven back to southern MN from various locations around the US -- south, east and west of there -- all my life. I thought I knew southern Minnesota pretty well. But when hubby and I decided to visit my great aunt driving out from St. Joseph, MI, my dad recommended his usual route through Iowa (which I had done many times before myself), but I thought going through Wisconsin would be prettier and hubby agreed. I wasn't surprised about the rugged beauty of Wisconsin, but when we crossed the river and Minnesota was just as pretty, I was blown away. By the time we got to Austin, everything looked as I expected (if a bit more wooded), but most of Minnesota prior to that was landscape beyond my ken. Well, it reminded me (and has reminded others) of the Appalachians a bit, but it's more river-y.

    Turns out that area of Minnesota wasn't scraped down by the glaciers, so it's very different from the rest of Minnesota. That bit of Minnesota is part of a big patch of the midwest called The Driftless Area -- no glaciers, meaning no drifts -- covering parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. Did a chunk of the Great River Road in Illinois and Iowa this past weekend, and I still think the Driftless Area is stunner cool. It's interesting to me that along the Mississippi River, the rocks seem more eroded and old, and are more covered in vegetation, while the in Wisconsin Dells area they're much cleaner -- different rocks? The Dells area was more recently scoured out? Not sure....

    Here's a fairly entertaining half-hour video on the area -- I would have liked more shots of sweeping vistas from the Great River Road, and I don't like a lot of the camerawork in the cave section, but not a bad flick overall.

  2. #2
    yes, the Dells area was more recently scoured out (at the end of the glacial period) and they are different kinds of rocks. There was a huge lake formed from below Baraboo to above Black River Falls, damned up in Portage by glacial material, when the dam gave way, the glacial lake drained violently, main channel formed Wisconsin river, the bedrock was different, formed by harder, more crystalline rock that is Baraboo quartzite. The lake drained in less than a week and caused the down-cutting of the canyons in the Dells, the Precambrian rock was exposed. The sandstone was carved up forming the features of the Dells., some layers were harder than others. that's why thre are so many features along the river.
    per Ron Marks

  3. #3
    my husband recommends the book Roadside Geology of Wisconsin by Dott and Attig.


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