Thursday, October 30, 2008

Winter Is Coming

We knew it was going to happen sometime soon. Even so, it was a bit of a shock to wake up to a dusting of snow on Monday morning. Snow at this time of year doesn’t last but it is a reminder of things to come. Then on Wednesday the temperature was down to 20 degrees. I had to go to town. All the ponds along the way were iced over. Even Little Iron Lake had a skim of ice on it. When I can home in the mid-afternoon, there was still ice on the ponds and Little Iron. This morning was a different story. The temperature was 38. It was sunny and even the wind felt warm. It appears that we are going to have several warm days over the weekend.
Fall chores continue to move along. Here is a picture of Jason moving the main dock over on Wednesday morning.
The entire dock was covered with frost and looked quite white. This job is always done on a glass calm lake. Jason said that it is just a slow ride over.

Another fall chore is to protect our greenery from the winter feeding habits of deer. As many of you know, we have lots of deer coming in for corn during the winter months. Sometimes we can have upwards of 40 deer in the front yard. They also like to browse on the bushes and trees that we have planted. So we try to cover them with burlap or chicken wire each season. Last year the Tamarack down by the creek in front of Cabin #3 took a beating. So this year Ronnie Smith, our head gardener, was taking no chances. Here is a picture of what she did.

That is chicken wire five feet up the trees. In case you are wondering whythe pine tree Tamarack is yellow, here is the answer. Tamarack are the only pines to turn color and lose their needles every year.

Bruce and I have gotten out a couple of times for partridge hunting. Last Friday was pretty good and we got three birds. (We ate one on Sunday with wild rice and acorn squash.)Today was so wonderful that we went out. I even brought my camera to take a picture of our results. That must have put a hex on our efforts. We got nothing more than a nice ride which isn’t all bad.

Have you ever wondered where the Gunflint rocks in the main lodge fireplace came from? They are not found anywhere else around here. Paul Weiblen from the University of Minnesota Department of Geology and Geophysics recently sent me an explanation of the rocks. It is an amazing story that is hard to believe.

About 2 billion years ago, a meteorite 10 miles in diameter hit the earth near what is Sudbury, Ontario. That’s about 500 miles east of us. It formed a crater more than 150 miles wide. In the process a large cloud of ash, rock fragments, gases and molten rock (known together as ejecta) rose into the atmosphere and spread around the globe.

Our share of the ejecta got sandwiched in between the Gunflint Iron Formation and the slate of the Rove Foundation. The next step was when some magma (part of the Logan Intrusion) seeped into the rocks. The true ejecta of our layer contains accretionary lapilli. These are small concentric rings that were formed by repeated layers of ash and melted rock droplets.

Another interesting part of this was the speed with which scientists theorize this event reached Gunflint Lake from Sudbury. The fireball would have been here in 13 seconds. It would have been hot enough to ignite trees and cause third degree burns. In another 2-3 minutes earthquakes strong enough to collapse buildings would happen on Gunflint. In another 5-10 minutes the airborne ejecta would have covered Gunflint Lake with a layer 1-3 meters thick. After about 40 additional minutes an air blast with wind speeds up to 1,400 mph would reach Gunflint. In an additional 1-2 hours the area would experience a huge tsunami.

Since I have clearly plagiarized these last three paragraphs from the article, here is a website that will give you more information: It is to a website that describes 174 meteorite impacts world-wide. This one is listed in North America and named Sudbury.

Next time you are in the lodge, take a good look at the main fireplace and think about where it came from.

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