A Landing a Day

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Drummond Island, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on August 19, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2115; A Landing A Day blog post number 543.

Dan –  The LG (Landing God)  wasn’t comfortable with two record low Scores in a row, so He sent along this OSer . . . MI; 49/40; 4/10; 147.8. 

Here’s a verrrry interesting regional landing map:

 landing 1

Looks like I landed right on the border, eh?  Well, let’s take a closer look:

landing 1a

 Just made it. Oh, what the heck, how about a closer look?

 landing 1b

You can see that the international boundary takes some interesting jigs and jags, but that Drummond Island is on the U.S. side (barely).

Here’s my more local landing map:

 landing 2

So, I landed on the deserted east end of Drummond Island!  Here’s the flight from my last landing (Vega & Wildorado TX):

Let’s look at a static Google Earth shot:

 GE 1

I’ll say, it’s deserted.  Looks like my watershed analysis won’t be much.  See the little bay northwest of my landing (part of the larger bay)?  Using the GE elevation tool, I figured out that my drainage heads in that direction.  Here’s a closer look:

 GE 2

It turns out there’s a GE Panoramio shot (by Jeeper2002) that almost shows the little bay.  Here’s a screen shot of Jeeper’s picture that shows just where he took it from . . .

pano jeeper2002 looking east towards where the drainage ends up

Speaking of Pano shots, check this out – there’s a Pano shot on the “road” just east of my landing, by Repoman.  First, here’s a GE shot showing the photo’s location:

 GE 5 shows nearest Pano shot

And here’s the shot.

pano repoman close to landing 

Continuing with Pano pictures, here’s one of “Marblehead,” a cliff at the end of the road just east of my landing (by Greg Tipton):

 pano greg tipton marblehead

Also by Greg, here’s a shot of the view towards Cockburn Island (Canada) from Marblehead:

 pano greg tipton view from marblehead

See the international boundary line out in the water between Drummond & Cockburn?  Me neither . . .

As a geologist, I was very excited to learn that the cliff at Marblehead is part of the same cliff that is the raison d’etre of Niagara Falls!  Who’d a thunk?  From Wiki:

The Niagara Escarpment is a topographical feature that stretches from New York to Wisconsin.  It is typically marked by a cliff that separates an extensive upland area from an extensive lowland area.

There is no displacement of the rock layers at the escarpment: this is not a fault line but the result of unequal erosion. The escarpment’s high side is dolomite, which is more resistant than the low side of the escarpment, which is underlain by more easily eroded shale. The escarpment thus formed over millions of years through the process of erosion of rocks of different hardnesses.

Through time the soft rocks weather away or erode by the action of streams. The gradual removal of the soft rocks undercuts the resistant caprock, leaving a cliff or escarpment. The erosional process is most readily seen at Niagara Falls, where the river has quickened the process, carving a lengthy notch in the escarpment.

Here’s a map:

 Niagara_Escarpment_map wiki

Back to Drummond – zooming back a little on GE, here’s the entire island, showing Cockburn Island (to the east) and mainland Upper Peninsula Michigan (to the west):

 GE 3

Notice the two big white spots?  They are dolomite mines.  By the way, the entire island is underlain by dolomite (the rock described as the “high side” of the Niagara Escarpment).  Here’s what the Drummond Island C of C has to say:

Dolomite’s chief use is in the steel industry, where it is used in blast furnaces as a flux, and in open hearth furnaces and foundries as a refractory material. It also is an important source of the metal, magnesium. Its toughness and hardness, as well as its structural soundness, make it an ideal aggregate for construction, including asphalt and concrete pavements.

Dolomite’s high magnesium and calcium carbonate content gives it great value as a soil neutralizer, therefore it also hold an important place in agriculture.

In 1968 Drummond Dolomite Incorporated was sold to Bethlehem Steel Corporation and continued to ship Dolomite in excess of 2.5 million tons per year. This was done with personnel of approximately 160 people.

In 1987, because of economic downturns and competition from foreign steel makers, Bethlehem Steel decided to sell its quarries and mines. In the spring of 1988 Drummond Dolomite was taken over by Osborne Materials Company of Grand River, Ohio. Osborne is now producing 1.3 million tons per year with approximately 30 people.

Dolomite is prepared for market by crushing, washing, and screening at the processing plant that is seen from the Ferry as you approach the Drummond shore.

The ferry, eh?  Here’s a picture of the ferry that runs back and forth between the mainland and Drummond Island all year long, carrying cars, trucks and people:


So, Drummond Island has about 1000 permanent residents.  Phew.  Strange place to live.  There’s no real town there, so I imagine that there’s a lot of use of the ferry by people who keep a car on the mainland (as well as one on the island), and who hop on the ferry to go to Home Depot or the supermarket to buy a couple of weeks’ worth of groceries.

A funny aside.  Check out this 9-hole golf course.  While playing, you actually have to cross the runway of the only airport on the island!

 golf at airport

As mentioned early, Cockburn Island Canada is just east of Drummond.  East of Cockburn is Manitoulin Island.

From MSN Travel:

Canada’s aptly named Great Lakes are so large, in fact, that one of them, Huron, is home to the world’s largest freshwater island – Manitoulin. This bucolic collection of farms, villages and First Nations settlements draws cyclists and hikers to its quiet country roads and trails. And in an amusing twist, Manitoulin itself has 108 freshwater lakes, some of which have their own islands, which in turn contain ponds. Lake Manitou, for instance, is the largest lake on a freshwater island in the world, and Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya is the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake in the world.

Wow. Very cool!  If we call the little ponds “lakes,” we’d have a lake on an island in a lake on an island in a lake!

So, off I went to Google Earth to look for a pond on an island in a lake on Manitoulin Island.  I spent quite a while, but to no avail. I was hampered by poor quality aerial photos.  Knowing that Bing Maps uses different aerials, I checked it out.  Bing-o!  Better photos (although still pretty lousy, as you’ll see).  Bing-o! A pond on a lake (I think).  Here is the Bing Maps aerial of Mud Island (in Mud Lake), and a small unnamed pond:

 bing pond on an island in a lake on an island in a lake - mud lake

Moving right along . . . I came across a lovely moon shot over Cockburn Island, taken a little ways east of my landing.  The photographer (NailHed) titled his photo “Monoominike-giizis moonrise over Cockburn Island.”  This requires some research.  First off, the phrase comes from the Indian Ojibwe language.  The Ojibwe were also known as the Chippewa; a large Indian Tribe in the Lake Superior Region.  It turns out that the Odawa were the prominent Tribe on both sides of Lake Huron, including the islands, as shown on this Wiki map:


An Odawa expression would probably be more appropriate.  Oh, well . . ..

Anyway, from the Oijbwe dictionary, “monoominike” means:

She/he rices, goes ricing, makes rice, picks rice, harvests wild rice.

From the same dictionary, giizis means:

Sun; moon; a month.

Together, manoominike-giizis means:

the moon of ricing occuring in August or September

There you have it, and I’ll close with the lovely picture, once again, entitled “Manoominike-giizis moonrise over Cockburn Island,” by NailHed:

pano nailhed manoominike-giizis moonrise over cockburn island

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day





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