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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elk River in Sherburne County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Geology of the Elk River Region

 
 
Geology of the Elk River Region Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
1. Geology of the Elk River Region Marker
Inscription.
      Minnesota was largely covered by glaciers many times during the last million years. The ice flowed across the state from both the northeast and the northwest. As it advanced along separate paths, it scraped up, crushed, and carried with it thousands of cubic kilometers of rock debris, called glacial drift. This was deposited in a thick layer over much of the state.
    About 25,000 years ago, a tongue-shaped lobe of ice called the Superior lobe advanced across Minnesota from the northeast. This ice eroded the mostly igneous bedrock in Ontario and the Lake Superior region and deposited a reddish, sandy, and rocky drift. Soils that developed from this drift are not the most fertile.

    More recently, about 16,000 years ago, another lobe of ice advanced across Minnesota from the northwest. This was named the Des Moines lobe because its point of furthest advance was Des Moines, Iowa. Drift deposited by this ice contains crushed pieces of sedimentary marine shales and limestone eroded from the Winnipeg Lowlands in southern Manitoba. Soils developed from this drift are typically gray to brown, full of clay, and rich in lime, magnesia, and potash. These soils are quite fertile and good for agriculture.

    In the Elk River region, deposits from both the northeast and the northwest occur in close proximity.
Geology of the Elk River Region Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
2. Geology of the Elk River Region Marker
Most of the quite fertile material at the surface was deposited by an eastern offshoot of the Des Moines lobe called the Grantsburg sublobe. The older Superior lobe deposits are close to the surface, however, and may be mixed with those above. Thus, the fertility of the soils in the Elk River region will vary depending on the proportionate mix of the two parent drifts.
    River terrace deposits of sand and gravel are also common near Elk River. The Mississippi River established its present course during the final decline of the glaciers. Water from the melting ice followed a number of different routes until finally cutting the valley in which the river now flows. Sandy terraces mark former river courses.

Erected by the Geological Society of Minnesota in partnership with the
Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Geological Survey 1998

 
Erected 1998 by the Geological Society of Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Geological Survey.
 
Location. 45° 17.619′ N, 93° 33.567′ W. Marker is in Elk River, Minnesota, in Sherburne County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 10 0.4 miles west of U.S. 169, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map.
Geology of the Elk River Region Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
3. Geology of the Elk River Region Marker
C. M. Babcock Roadside Memorial Park
Marker is in Babcock Memorial Park. Marker is in this post office area: Elk River MN 55330, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Grange Shrine (approx. 2.4 miles away); Itasca Village Townsite (approx. 4.2 miles away); Ice Age Souvenir (approx. 4.3 miles away); Rum River Dam (approx. 10.5 miles away); The Stone House / Robert W. Akin (approx. 10.5 miles away); Perseverance Needed (approx. 10.5 miles away); Why Settle Here? / Time to Play (approx. 10.6 miles away); The Gathering Place (approx. 10.6 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Geology and Hydrology of Elk River Minnesota. (Submitted on November 4, 2013.)
 
Categories. Natural Features
 
Mississippi River by Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
4. Mississippi River by Marker
looking downriver
Mississippi River by Marker image. Click for full size.
By K. Linzmeier, October 24, 2013
5. Mississippi River by Marker
looking upriver
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 4, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 354 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 4, 2013, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
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