Which Way, Feldman?
In Wisconsin, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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Welcome to the next edition of Doc.'s Roadside Geology Tour ~ “Up Nort”.
Today's tour takes us along a quiet little highway in Ashland County, WI which meanders through the Chequamegon National Forest. 29 miles of this highway is designated as The Great Divide Highway. This section of State Highway 13/77 winds its way through forests, lakes, marshes and streams. The vistas are scenic however the geology which created the initial template has long since succumbed to the erosional forces of time and glacial activity. The watershed, however, remains unchanged and is a reminder of what once sharply divided this region.
The listed coordinates will bring you to a geological marker on the roadside delineating one point of the Great Divide of Northern Wisconsin. This geological demarcation line splits this region of northern Wisconsin.
This subcontinental divide formed during the Keweenawan Rifting (also known as the Midcontinental Rift) period 1.2 billion years ago when plate tectonics reshaped the landscape of this region. As the plates creating the Earth's crust collided, subsequent folding and upthrusting stood the Penokee and Gabbro ranges on end, forming a parallel mountain range. Ensuing fault lines of the Rift created much of the landscape seen today surrounding Lake Superior as well as forming the initial pathways for the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers to be carved by the meltwaters of the last Great Ice Age.
The presence of this geological divide presented a tremendous obstacle to the early travelers of the waterways. There is nearly 900 feet in elevation difference from the point where you are standing to where the water flows northward into Lake Superior. These waterways are full of rapids and waterfalls, making river travel impossible. Travelers on the Flambeau Trail had to portage over 45 miles to cross the rugged landscape until they reached “The Divide," where they could paddle the navigable river ways to Lac du Flambeau and other connecting waterways, until they eventually reached the Mississippi River.
“Precipitation falling to the south of this divide flows into the Chippewa and Namekagon Rivers, then westerly to the Mississippi River and south to the Gulf of Mexico. Precipitation falling to the north of this divide flows into Lake Superior then east through the Great Lakes into the St. Lawrence River and ultimately to the Atlantic Ocean.”
Waypoint 1: Atlantic Ocean N 49 11.224 / W 067 10.766
Waypoint 2: Gulf of Mexico N 29 28.121 / W 089 07.252
To log this EarthCache, please forward to me in an email the following:
1. Please take an elevation reading at the sign. If the elevation of Lake Superior is 600', then how far downhill must this drop flow?
2. Please enter waypoint 1 into your GPS. This is where a drop of water would theoretically enter the Atlantic Ocean. What is that distance?
3. Please enter waypoint 2 into your GPS. This is where a drop of water would theoretically enter the Gulf of Mexico. What is that distance?
4. Given a direct flight, which body of water would be reached first?
5. Please post a photo documenting your visit to this area.
Thanks for taking the time to join me at this little geological anomaly on Doc.'s Roadside Geology Tour ~ "Up Nort"!
Don't forget to buckle up for our next stop!
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 8/28/2014 2:03:21 PM Pacific Daylight Time (9:03 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum