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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Mazomanie in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Mazomanie Sand Barrens

 
 
Mazomanie Sand Barrens Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, June 26, 2010
1. Mazomanie Sand Barrens Marker
Inscription. When the last glacier melted some 10,000 years ago, the Wisconsin River swelled to more than 100 times its present size and carried billions of tons of fine sand and gravel on its way to the Mississippi River. As the meltwater decreased, it deposited material in this valley to a depth of 300 feet. This process created wide steps, or terraces, leading down to the present river bed. You are on one of the upper terraces, called a "sand barren" because of its desert-like conditions.

Water evaporation rate exceeds rainfall, so plants and animals here have interesting ways to conserve water. Grasses have many long roots, and their leaves curl inwards to reduce evaporation in the heat. During the day, lizards and snakes stay under-ground where temperatures may be up to 70 degrees cooler than on the sun-baked surface.

Look around for Wisconsin's only native cactus, prickly pear. The green thorny pads are actually enlarged and flattened stems. Like leaves, they convert sunlight into food, but they also store large quantities of water. Four-inch, yellow flowers bloom only one day each in late June.

The Wisconsin's flood plain is located on the lowest terrace. Its moisture-loving trees have shallow roots which get oxygen during floods but also cause the trees to uproot during windstorms. A few miles north, bald eagles winter
Mazomanie Sand Barrens Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, June 26, 2010
2. Mazomanie Sand Barrens Marker
View from the highway.
where a power plant's warm water keeps the river from icing over. Watch for eagles perching in shore trees or swooping down to catch small fish, their primary food.
 
Erected 1977 by the Dane County Natural History Marker System.
 
Location. 43° 14.816′ N, 89° 43.992′ W. Marker is near Mazomanie, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is on County Road Y 0.7 miles west of State Highway 78, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mazomanie WI 53560, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wisconsin Heights Battlefield (approx. half a mile away); Battle of Wisconsin Heights (approx. half a mile away); Culver's (approx. 1.7 miles away); Sauk City (approx. 2 miles away); Free Congregation of Sauk County (approx. 2 miles away); August W. Derleth (approx. 2.3 miles away); In Memory of Rev. Adalbert Inama, O. Praem. (approx. 2.8 miles away); Father Adalbert Inama -- St. Norbert House (approx. 2.8 miles away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This is a list of markers in the Dane County Natural History Marker System.
 
Categories. EnvironmentNatural Features
 
Prickly Pear image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, June 26, 2010
3. Prickly Pear
The only native Wisconsin cactus, which was right next to the marker and had a flower bud that must have been very close to its one day of blooming for the year.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 26, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,065 times since then and 34 times this year. Last updated on October 17, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 26, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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