Down a well of time only twice as deep as the pyramids of Egypt, a continental glacier was receding from Minnesota. It left a blasted landscape of bedrock, boulders, gravel, sand, silt, and water. A land made by ice. Plants, animals, and eventually Lutherans colonized and scratched at the surface of the land, but the power of the glaciers still dominates our physical environment and profoundly shapes our work lives and our recreation.
Glacial Lake Agassiz left a fertile lake bottom in the Red River Valley and a large overflow valley that now contains the meandering Minnesota River. Another great glacial meltwater stream carved the beautiful St. Croix River Valley to the east.
The scoured bedrock of northern Minnesota became the stunning lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Further south and west the random plowing of soil by moving ice and the deposition of sand and gravel around remaining chunks of ice created our recreational lakes for weekend trips and prairie potholes that facilitate continent-wide migrations.
This glacially produced hydrological chaos of lakes, ponds, and marshes provide us with our greatest common enemy, the mosquito.
I'm writing this note looking out over Lake Superior and the Duluth Harbor. The Great Lakes are arguably the most amazing creation of Glaciation on our planet. I watch ocean-going ships and 1000-foot ore boats pass into Duluth Harbor. More than 1,000 miles from the ocean, Minnesota has the most remote seaport in the world.
If we Minnesotans have to choose between creation by fire and ice, I think that ice will best suffice.
~David Borchert, Duluth, MN