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Winegar Dead Ice Moraine

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About the Winegar Dead Ice Moraine

The Winegar Dead Ice Moraine is a region in the interior of the western portion of Michigan's upper peninsula, extending slightly into northern Wisconsin.

This region primarily consists of, and is characterized by dead ice or stagnation moraine, a landscape that formed when glacial ice stopped moving and melted in place. This process created a landscape with numerous small kettle lakes and a poorly developed stream drainage network, interspersed with steep ridges of terminal moraines. The region also has small areas of ground moraine and outwash. The kettle lakes here tend to be deep, acidic, and low in nutrients. Most of the drainage occurs underground. Soils here tend to be mostly coarse and sandy, but there is some diversity in soil texture, including sandy loams, some containing finer silts, some excessively-drained sands on outwash plains, and some poorly-drained stony muck soils in depressions.

The climate is a cold humid continental climate with harsh winters, little lake moderation of temperature, and only slight lake-effect snow; the growing season averages 87 days.

Originally this area was mostly forested. Uplands mostly supported northern hardwood forests with sugar maple (Acer saccharum), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and American basswood (Tilia americana). We found sources saying that hemlock and eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) grew on more fire-prone south- and west-facing slopes, but this contradicts hemlock's tendency not to grow in fire-prone areas. Bogs and wetlands surrounding kettle depressions featured black spruce (Picea mariana) and tamarack (Larix laricina).

This area has been extensively logged. Second-growth forests have a much lower portion of conifers, and are mostly dominated by sugar maple and red maple (Acer rubrum), with white pine and hemlock particularly having been eliminated. Present-day land use here is mostly forestry and recreation. This area is sparsely populated and there are only a few small towns here.

As this region stretches far in the east-west direction it borders many different regions. To the north, the eastern end of this region is bordered by the rugged, upland Michigamme Highland, west of that, the sandier Keweenaw-Baraga Moraines, further west, the Lake Superior Clay Plain, beyond that, the Superior Mineral Ranges, and past that the Superior Clay Plain again. To the south, the border in the east is with the Menominee Drumlins and Ground Moraine; west of that there is a small border with the Wisconsin/Michigan Pine Barrens, then a larger border with the Brule and Paint River Drumlins, farther west with the Brule and Paint River Drumlins, and at the westernmost end with the Chequamegon Moraines and Outwash Plain.

References

1. Omernik, J.M., Bryce, S.A. "Michigan: Level III and IV Ecoregion Descriptions / Mapping Issues", US EPA (2007) Web.

2. Albert, Dennis A. "Regional landscape ecosystems of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin: a working map and classification.", General Technical Report NC-178, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul, MN (1995) Web.