A Glacial Gift
Fourteen thousand years ago the spot on which you are standing was covered under a mile-high ice sheet. The fourth Wisconsin glacier carved the cluster of lakes into Northwest Iowa. While this north-south cut is typical of glacial lakes, West Okoboji is unusual because it is so deep.
One theory is that a waterfall, coursing down the mile-thick ice, gouged the lake bed to its depth of 136 feet or more. Or perhaps, the juggernaut of ice, shoving glacial rubble ahead of it, sculpted the 6 1/2 mile-long basin to be filled by melting ice as the glacier retreated. Glacial deposits here are younger by hundreds of thousands of years than the glacial deposits of most other Iowa landscapes.
Special landscape formations resulted from direct contact with melting and disintegrating glacial ice. Knobs, ridges, hogsbacks, eskers, kettle holes, and fens are living imprints of some of nature's most remarkable phenomena.
Nine thousand years later there were forests here. Then the climate changed. Fires swept the forests, and prairie grasses, reeds, rushes, marshlands, and fens took over.
Beneath the waters in front of you is a canyon
West Okoboji Lake is spring fed, with an irregular shoreline of over 25 miles, all protected by filtering percolators in the form of wetlands. These natural factors, combined with several generations of dedicated environmentalists, have contributed to the enhanced quality of the brilliant blue water.
Location. 43° 22.025′ N, 95° 8.203′ W. Marker is in Arnolds Park, Iowa, in Dickinson County. Marker is on Lake Street near Okoboji Grove Road. Located on a pier on the West Lake Okoboji. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 37 Lake Street, Arnolds Park IA 51331, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. American Indians & Settlers (here, next to this marker); Steamships of the Iowa Great Lakes (a few steps from this marker); The Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum (a few steps from this marker); Massacre Monument (approx. ¼ mile away).
Categories. • Environment • Parks & Recreational Areas •
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Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 2, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 44 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 2, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.