Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Midwest Aerial Geomorph

Over this last Thanksgiving I had the chance to fly back home to Minnesota. Something I really like to do is look at the landscapes through the airplane window (when I get a window seat). Although the midwest doesn't have much topography to look at, there is plenty of geomorphology to keep a geoscience-educated person entertained, along with some meteorology and infrastructure. I happened to have my camera onhand, something I'll try and remember to do more.

Shot of Springfield-Branson National Airport (KSGF) after takeoff

A limestone quarry outside of Springfield. Makes you realize how much limestone there is in this state!

Just making sure the wing is still attached. Yep!

Looks to be some kind of weather front, clear on one side, cloudy on the other.

Again, the weather front. I like this shot because it was difficult to see the land on the clear side due to scattering, so it looked blue, making this shot look like we're flying over the edge of Antarctica, a flight I would love to take someday.

Begin the fluvial geomorphology! A stream with some good meander-bends. Most geologic events take places over millions of years, so sometimes it's a nice break to think about meandering streams which are very dynamic (geologically speaking)
You also don't realize how close clouds are to the ground sometimes until you see them from above.
Excellent example of a dendritic pattern stream in the light-colored farm square. It looks so sharp and clean probably due to the farmer plowing and planting right up to the stream bank, removing any kind of riparian zone. Although this maximizes growing land for the farmer this leads to more soil and fertilizers getting washed into the stream, a major problem in the midwest contributing to the Golf Dead Zone.

Saw these wind farms and knew I wasn't in Missouri aymore - Wind farms are common in Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois, but are slow to start up in Missouri (I've heard some fairly negative political radio ads about wind farms here)

Lake Thunderbird in Illinois, a neat little water body I saw which turns out to be a reservoir. You can also really see where the smaller tributary valleys are where the dark heavy vegetation has been left untouched within the plowed lighter colored cropland.

I used to live next to the Mississippi River in my undergrad days, so part of me will always have a thing for large rivers and small river towns. This turned out to be the town of Hennepin, Illinois.

A larger river town. You can definitely see the industrial district along the river. I also liked the little airport just outside of town. I wonder how long until the city envelopes it? This is the cities of Peru and La Salle, Illinois

The cities of Peru and La Salle, Illinois, as above, but with the winding river in view. I wonder why the city doesn't develop into that meander point?
Sorry for the strange angle of the shot, but I wanted to get as much of this in view as possible to see all the little sandbar islands along the river. Getting into the heavily urbanized regions of Illinois.

A shot for the physicists. I saw this and didn't believe what I was looking at at first, but yes, that is Fermilab outside of Chicago.


  1. Thanks for the interesting photolog! I felt like killing some time, so I've located some of your photo areas.

    The body of water is Lake Thunderbird in Illinois, and is indeed used a reservoir (completed 1970)

    The small river town is Hennepin, IL

    The large river towns in Illinois includes the cities of Peru and La Salle.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      Also, thanks a bunch for identifying those features, I'll add them to the descriptions :)