Midwest Lakes Policy Center

Great Lakes, Ancient Shores

Scientists hope to learn more about what the Great Lakes' shorelines looked like about 10,000 years ago. They explored a limestone land bridge that spanned 125 miles near Ontario, and an underwater forest of petrified trees in Lake Huron.

The 2006 research, in which more than 500 dives were made, is the subject of a documentary film, "Great Lakes, Ancient Shores, Sinkholes." Another study is planned for 2007 and should result in a second film, "Great Lakes, Ancient Shores."

Scientists have been filming in the Great Lakes for at least 25 years. There is a petrified forest in 40 feet of water in Lake Huron about two miles offshore. Some of the trees have been carbon-dated to indicate they are 6,980 years old.

The Straits of Mackinac, a passage between lakes Michigan and Huron, have been spanned by the Mackinac Bridge since the mid-1950s but didn't exist several thousand years ago. Water from Lake Michigan seeped underground toward Lake Huron and the two bodies of water eventually became connected.

The current film focuses on a sinkhole in Lake Huron about two miles from Alpena near Middle Island. In prehistoric times, the sinkholes were on dry land. Native Americans lived near these sinkholes because they provided water, which attracted game.

December 20, 2006 6:31 AM | Category: Great Lakes, Lake Huron, Technology

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