Sand Formations

Dune Sculptures Wind, sand, snow, and ice combined formed these interesting structures on the vast, rolling dunes of Silver Lake State Park, near Mears Michigan. Arriving at the top of the first dune, we readied ourselves for the long hike to Lake Michigan -it appears much closer than it really is. We then noticed mother nature's handiwork on the tops of the dunes. As the snow fell, and the wind blew, layers of snow and sand piled up over a foot tall in places. Then, some of the snow melted getting the sand wet, and the wet sand froze in some areas. The wind continued to blow away the loose sand, but the frozen sand stayed in place creating these formations. Sand Formations We didn't expect to see such patterns and formations, but they were a welcomed addition to our normally interesting hike through the dunes and forests of Silver Lake State Park. On this day, we had the entire park to ourselves, we didn't see another person all day; I suppose most people prefer the beach and dunes in the summer months. Our hike here usually includes a visit to some interdunal ponds, small bodies of water collecting between sets of dunes. These areas are vastly different than their surroundings, and they are home to many different plants and animals not found in the other areas of the park. Conifer forests often border these ponds, creating homes for birds and other wildlife. Interdunal Pond Now iced over, these small ponds blend in to their surroundings much more than in the warmer months. The conifer forests, however, were buzzing with birds gathering seeds in the cold winter air. They were such a different environment than the areas surrounding - like islands of life in the desert. The temperature was much warmer in these areas too, sheltered by the tall dunes on all sides, and buffered by the jack pine trees. This was a nice break from the cold wind found everywhere else in the park.

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