Tree Remains on the North Shore of Lake Superior

August 19, 2016


Photographer: Dale Hugo
Summary AuthorDale Hugo

Shown above is the root end of a tree, possibly a cedar, white pine or fir, that washed up on the North Shore of Lake Superior, at Flood Bay, Minnesota. Its bleached wood gives testimony to the great Solstice Day flooding rains of June 21, 2012, in northeastern Minnesota and along the North Shore of Lake Superior. This storm caused over $100 million in damage and washed whole trees out into the lake. The trees' root balls (red clay and chunks of bedrock) were washed out with the uprooted trees. Some trees bobbed up and down in the lake for several weeks as the clay and embedded rocks slowly dropped off. With bark and branches stripped off by wave action, this specimen was finally cast ashore, embedded among some large boulders of local rock put in place for protecting the parking area. 

Based on the mass of the root remains and the likely tree species I estimate that the tree was originally 60 ft (18 m) tall and perhaps 14 in (36 cm) in diameter. Now driftwood, it made a comfortable seat for viewing the lake after strolling along its shoreline. Note that the sand here is painful to walk on barefooted. Its parent rocks, native anorthosite and basalt, flakes off in sharp pieces. Locals know that walking on this sand without shoes is like walking on very coarse sand paper.

Photo Details: Camera Maker: GENERAL IMAGING CO.; Camera Model: GE DIGITAL CAMERA C1033; Focal Length: 5.2mm; Aperture: ƒ/3.5; Exposure Time: 0.018 s (1/56); ISO equiv: 80.