Ghostly Stone, Lake Michigan's Left Coast, lakemichigansleftcoast.com, Elizabeth G Fagan

Ghosts in the Stones

Ghosts in the Stones

Lake Michigan reached record low-water levels in January, 2013, creating bountiful beaches on Wisconsin’s shoreline. By Winter, 2014, however, the Lake started rising. By April, 2020, it had risen more than six feet. It swallowed those sandy beaches, took down trees, erased landscaping, rearranged boulders.

At the same time, the Lake was giving up its stones. Millions and millions of Great Lakes rocks. Stones of all and textures, uniform in size and shape within their particular rock-neighborhood. Pieces of the region’s bedrock are plentiful; sedimentary rocks from the Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian periods. Much of Wisconsin lay beneath the Laurentian ice sheet in the Wisconsin Glacial Episode, the most recent of the ice ages. The state is blanketed with glacial drift.

It’s Lake Michigan’s nature to turn stones into smooth ovals. But some of those rocks contain fossils. Or did contain fossils. Limestone, sandstone, quartz, and chert often contain irregularities, traces that can be identified as fossils. When I look at the weathered rocks, I see ghosts.


Elizabeth G Fagan and Ruby, lakemichigansleftcoast.com, Lake Michigan's Left Coast
Elizabeth G Fagan and Ruby, lakemichigansleftcoast.com, Lake Michigan’s Left Coast

About the Author

Elizabeth G Fagan is an artist who resides on Lake Michigan’s shoreline in southeastern Wisconsin—a place she calls Lake Michigan’s Left Coast. She was a professional writer based in Chicago for much of a professional career that spanned more than 25 years.

The 2012 superstorm Hurricane Sandy is mainly remembered for devastating New York City. Sandy was so massive she caused 25-foot waves on Lake Michigan in Chicago, some 900 miles to the west. Millions of stones washed up onto Montrose Dog Beach, the place where Fagan regularly walked her German Shepherd Rosie. A childhood interest was renewed as she collected rocks and fossils on that beach. She continues rockhounding on Lake Michigan’s Left Coast with her second-generation German Shepherd, Ruby.

Art, content, photography, lakemichigansleftcoast.com, Lake Michigan’s Left Coast © 2015–2022 Elizabeth G Fagan
Unauthorized use is prohibited