Two Creeks Buried Forest provides a unique, precise record of the multiple glacial advances and retreats in this area during the Wisconsinan stage of glaciation. It tells an amazing story of ice advance and retreat, lake level rise and fall, forest bed growth and death, lake level rise and fall, ice advance and retreat, and lake level rise and fall. The outcrop is located near Two Creeks, Wisconsin after which it is named.
Exposed forest remnants (Photo Credit: John Hoaglund Photo Date: Friday, May 28, 1999)
The historic forest became established between the Cary and Valders glacial substages. After temperatures warmed and the Cary glacier retreated northward, a mature boreal-like forest of black and white spruce, hemlock, pine, various mosses and other plants developed in the Two Creeks area near Lake Michigan. Shortly afterwards, the advancing Valders glacier blocked off the northern Lake Michigan drainageway, raising lake levels, flooding the forest and covering the ground with silt and clay, preventing decomposition.
Later, when the southern end of the Valders glacier reached the area, it flattened the forest leaving behind another clay layer imbedded with logs and other debris. These layers of clay, silt, sand and the buried forest are visible on a steep bluff along the lakeshore where wave action and erosion have exposed the layers which contain long-buried branches, logs, and stumps of spruce, pine and hemlock trees. Conifer needles, cones, mosses, and terrestrial snails are also present within the layers. Unearthed wood, radiocarbon-dated at 11,850 before present, provides an absolute date on late-glacial sequences in the Lake Michigan Basin, and evidence that periods between substage glacial advances were long enough for forests to develop.
Two Creeks Buried Forest is a unit of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve and has been a popular study site for North American geologists, botanists, glacial ecologists and climatologists. Removal of any material is strictly prohibited. Two Creeks Buried Forest is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1967. Open to the public 24/7/365.
Two Creeks Buried Forest, truly one of Wisconsin's hidden wonders. If you've ever gone to Door County on Highway 42 you have also passed it, at the grassy field on Lake Michigan's bluff at the intersection of 42 and County BB near the Manitowoc-Kewaunee County line. But you likely didn't see the buried forest because that's just what it is. You only saw the grassy field that covers it. The buried forest, dated by scientists at about 12,000 years old.The first time I heard about it I went to the site expecting to be awed by a buried forest, until it hit me that by definition there wouldn't be much more for lay eyes to see than the grassy field. Still, it's neat to know. At Two Creeks, you can't see the forest for the lack of trees.
A Geocache Notification Form has been submitted to Thomas A. Meyer Conservation Biologist, State Natural Areas Program. Geocaches placed on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource managed lands require permission by means of a notification form.
NOTE: Visitors should respect a "no hammer, shovel, or sampling" etiquette coincident with the law that applies in most national and state parks. Visitors also assume all risks, including those associated with steep and slumping lakeshore slopes and bluffs. Do not access bluffs from private property without explicit permission.
To get credit for this Earthcache, e-mail me the answers to these questions...
1. Estimate the height and give the elevation of the bluff.
2. Estimate the average width of the beach - from bluff to water.
3. Erosion has its positive and negative effects. Here at Two Creeks Buried Forest, though damaging and causing safety issues, erosion could reveal more interesting geological artifacts, such as pine needles, tree limbs and other forest fauna and flora. Answer the flowing questions about erosion here: a) Water levels of Lake Michigan ARE effecting bluff erosion. (True of False)Why? b) Human contact here is speeding up erosion on this bluff. (True or False) Why? c) Since we do not have hurricanes here in Wisconsin, weather is NOT a concern for erosion (True or False) Why?
4. Take a pic with your GPS in it and include yourself (if alone, just the GPS) or your group, next to the information plaque, located near the posted coordinates.
Hoaglung, John , et. Al., University of Michigan, retrived from http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hoaglund/TwoCreek/twocreek.html
National Parks Service, Geology of Ice Age Reserve of Wisconsin - NPS Scientific Momograph No. 2, retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/science/2/chap2.htm
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, retrieved from http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/sna/sna50.htm