Apr 19-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: April: Apr 19-06
The Bishop stands guard    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Katie Keranen
Looking over the Bay    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Katie Keranen

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:16 am:

There's something quite striking about the Bishop Baraga statue silhouetted against an evening sky. Katie Keranen was able to capture that scene just right, with the remaining light filtering through the straps of the snowshoes and bouncing off the waters of Keweenaw Bay. Her second shot is what "The Snowshoe Priest" oversees each day, rain or shine, he's there with a vigilant eye, observing the Keweenaw Bay communities of Baraga and L'Anse, along with the surrounding forests, shoreline and the oldest mountains, geologically, in the world. Perhaps our resident "geologist", can tell us a bit more about that statement and confirm or disprove it at the same time! What say you, Capt. Paul in Texas? :->

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:19 am:

Very nice pics!

By JOHN AND ANNE KENTUCKY (Username) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:27 am:

That is really a very nice shot of the bishop,nice angle.I too would enjoy a geology lesson if possible.

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:31 am:

Just did some family research this weekend and found a letter from Bishop Baraga (the Snowwhoe Priest) to my great great great Uncle Michael Finnegan. He commisioned Finnegan to build the catholic church in Houghton !! Before this he had a hand in building the church in Eagle Harbor. Any Finnegans left up that way? Maybe I've got some relatives left I don't know !!

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:43 am:

And,yes, you are right Mary, the geology of the great lakes region has left us with some of the oldest rock formations in the world. Granite from prehistoric lava flows date at roughly 2.7 billion years ago !! To me though, the preserved stromatolites found on the rock up on Ontario's north shore are more interesting. These precambrian microfossils are the FIRST recorded history of life on the planet. So, not only do we have the oldest rocks, we have the oldest recorded fossilized life !!

By Erica - Florida Keys (Erica) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:48 am:

One of my favorite places to stop..and doesn't he have a lovely view!

By gary pieknik (Ricelake_gary) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 09:00 am:

What is the story about the auction of the gift shop and surrounding land last fall. From the picture I take it that the public still has access to the shrine

By Dr. Nat in Texas (Drnat) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 10:24 am:

What beautiful photos. I miss driving by there... so much nicer than the commute I have to make these days north of Houston.

I'm glad people have an interest in the unique and fascinating geology of the Lake Superior region, one of my favorite places to work. (Do you need a good geology professor up there? Capt. Paul and I would like to go home). In answer to the questions and comments:
The rocks around Lake Superior are very old, but do not record the oldest mountain range. The earliest known mountain building event formed rocks called the Acasta Gneiss in the Northwest Territory of Canada. These are the oldest known rocks, dated at 3.96 billion years old.
As Jeff pointed out, the fossils of Lake Superior have been very important in helping us understand early life on earth. In the 1950s a University of Wisconsin professor named Stanley Tyler studied the Gunflint Formation along the Minnesota-Ontario border. One day, while rowing a boat along the shoreline, he came upon an outcropping of rock that looked interesting to him. Careful studies of this rock showed that it contained the earliest evidence of lifeófossils of cyanobacteria dated at 1.9 billion years old. More scientists studied this rock and confirmed Prof. Tylerís findings. However, recent studies in the Apex Chert of Australia have shown that it contains fossils of 3.4 billion year old cyanobacteria. So the Australians have the oldest known fossils right now.
But donít be concerned, the Upper Peninsula has an extremely important claim to fame in the world of historical geology and biology. Dr. Tsu Ming Han of the Empire Mine discovered the worldís oldest eukaryotic life forms, a fossil named Grypania. Eukaryotic is just a fancy science word meaning that the organisms are made of complex cells, like the cells of modern plants and animals. I have a sample of Grypania in my lab here at the college. These are rare fossils and I feel lucky to have this important piece of earthís history.

If you would like to see pictures of stromatolites and Grypania, Lake Superior Magazine has a little online article about them that you can find at: http://www.lakesuperior.com/online/192/192strom.html

P.S. Capt. Paul is in the field today, away from his computer, but Iím sure when he gets home tonight he will have more to add.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 10:47 am:

I love it. We're going to be there this summer.

By JanieT (Bobbysgirl) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 10:47 am:

Mind relaxing photos! Very beautiful!

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 11:11 am:

Dr Nat....Do you need a reference for a job at Tech???.....I know a few Yoopers who would be happy to have you and Capt. Paul here..... giving us lectures on the facinating subject of Lake Superior Geology..........(I might even take a class or two.... if you accept senior-citizens...)...I would at least become a "rock hound"..please consider the move back...

By Kathe Harrison (Kharrison) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 11:17 am:

I think the Bishop would have been remembering Genesis 1:1 - in principio creavit Deus caelum et terram (In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.)

By WishingIWasInDaUP (Sur5er) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 11:28 am:

What serene pictures :)
Dr. Nat, thank you for the valuable and fascinating geology lesson. I do hope that you and Capt. Paul, do get to relocate back home. If so, I think I would be sitting in your class, along with Marylou, because I love learning...especially when it concerns the UP :)

By Cindy, St. Clair Shores, MI (Cindy) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 12:19 pm:

What a beautiful picture of the shrine at sundown. I took a photo of almost the exact angle the last time I was there a couple of years ago, but it was on a warm, sunny, summer day with the trees all full of lush green leaves. It's in my Baraga album in my guest gallery if anyone wants to think "summer". https://pasty.com/pcam/albuq42
I bet this scene is gorgeous anytime of the year.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 12:25 pm:

What a wonderful picture! I'll be able to use it with my
class tomorrow. We are reading a book entitled "The
Game of Silence," by Louis Erdrich. The book is about
the Ojibway living on the Apostle Islands in the mid
19th century. Father Baraga (he wasn't a bishop yet in
the novel) is a character in the book. We have been
comparing the book with some of the entries in his
diary. The picture couldn't have come at a more
apropros moment.

By tom ghering (Tomgheringtcmi) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 01:43 pm:

I have a book "Life and labors of RT.REV.FREDERIC BARAGA, first bishop of Marquette, Mich." by P. Chrysostomus Verwyst, O.F.M....written in 1900 a very good read, but on the rare book list....try abebooks.com

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 02:01 pm:

Thanks Tom. I saw it mentioned in one of the books I
was consulting.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 04:02 pm:

Loved the information about the area provided by Dr,
Nat and Capt. Paul. My husband, who knows way
more about geology than I do, understands more of it
than I do.

By Frederic W. Koski (Fred) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 04:17 pm:

I found a small fossil in Marquette county a few years back, lucky find. It would be nice to go back in time and check out this area.
Great statue overlooking L'anse bay.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 04:39 pm:


I think I may have read the Finnigan name in Father
Baraga's diary--possibly in a footnote in the past couple
of days. I will check when I get home. Boy have I taken
a lot of breaks from paper work and meetings today!

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 05:57 pm:

Yea, what Dr. Nat said....... lol. Hey Mary, does being the "resident" geologist come with any benefits?? ;-)

Just to add the oldest "mineral", grains of zircon in a conglomerate, have been found in western Australia that have been dated to 4.2 billion years old. The oldest rock in the UP is the Watersmeet Dome at 3.6 billion.

The oldest rocks that make up the Huron Mountains are around 2.7 billion years old. Of course, at one time they were much higher, but over that great quantity of time, they have been eroded down. One of the most beautiful places in the UP, in my opinion, is a knob of rock on the baraga/marquette county line that we took the geology students from Tech to during their summer field camp. Not only is it spectacular in the fall, but the geology there is awesome!!!!

As far as coming back "home", I long for the day when someone there will offer one of us a position and we can return; I'm getting homesick!!!

By susan guderjan (Wenonasue) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 06:52 pm:

Beautiful view and peaceful. Anyone know what happened to the B&B and gift shop that shares the parking lot with the shrine? Thanks!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 07:20 pm:

WOW! How peaceful. It brings back memories. I love that area and love the view!

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 08:30 pm:

I can jump in at the end of the day and state that my brother Art Chaput was the model/welder for the Bishop Baraga statue..He still resides in Hubbell.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 09:02 pm:


Yup: Your ancestor is written about in Father
Baraga's diary--Sept. 5th, 1858 (also footnote
127) and 1860, October 17th.

Did you know that your family name was
sometimes spelled Finegan? Maybe you
have relatives that go by that spelling.

Eddyfitz--I will have so much to share with my
class tomorrow, including Jeffkal's relative
and the soulful photographs of Katie Keranen.

By Inwis (Inwis) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 09:29 pm:

I watched Art work on one of the hands ..Does anyone know what happened to Jack Anderson..

By Steve Haagen (Radsrh) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 11:26 pm:

Capt Paul where is the Watersmeet dome??

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 02:30 pm:

In Watersmeet, of course!! ;-) Actually there is a great exposure of it north of Watersmeet off from 45.

I also forgot to mention that there are stromatolites in the Keweenaw as well. Along the shore between Hebards Park and Dan's Point there is a thin white bed of stromatolites in the Copper Harbor Conglomerate. Beware however, most of that shoreline in private but you can pull into any of the public turnoffs along 26 to have a look. If you don't find them right away don't worry, even I have trouble sometimes.....

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