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MN Physical Geography. Minnesota from Space Minnesota’s Natural Boundaries.

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Presentation on theme: "MN Physical Geography. Minnesota from Space Minnesota’s Natural Boundaries."— Presentation transcript:

1 MN Physical Geography

2 Minnesota from Space

3 Minnesota’s Natural Boundaries

4 Northwest Angle

5 Minnesota’s Topography

6 Minnesota Relief (Elevation)

7 Eagle Mountain Highest Point in MN (2,301’)

8 Minnesota’s Glaciers 4 continental glaciers advanced and retreated across MN The Pleistocene ice age was the most recent and covered most of MN Along the way glaciers picked up rocks and soil and transported it to the south

9 Minnesota’s Glaciers The rocks and soil left behind known as “glacial drift” The melting also left behind many shallow lakes Soils left behind are an “unsorted” mixture of soil, rocks and pebbles

10 Glacier’s Southern Edge

11 Canadian Shield Physical region of mostly bare bedrock and little topsoil Covers much of central Canada, northeastern MN and northern Wisconsin

12 Glacial Abrasion

13 “Ice-Scoured” Surface Most of the Arrowhead region is “ice-scoured”

14 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Much bare bedrock Soil pushed to the south by glaciers Little soil left behind is thin and rocky

15 Minnesota Relief (Elevation)

16 Glacial Moraines Glacial Lakes Moraine Moraines are belts of hills that form at the edges of melting glaciers when boulders, stones and soil accumulates

17 Moraine and Lakes MN Moraine Belts Glaciers moved across “Moraine and Lakes” region of central MN several times leaving many moraines Region is hilly with many shallow lakes

18 This region is covered by “Glacial drift” (soil, rocks, sand and pebbles) deposited on the land when glaciers melted Region is hilly with many shallow lakes Flattest areas are “outwash plains” Moraine and Lakes Region

19 MN Moraines Powder Ridge Monticello’s “Little Mountain”

20 Minnesota Relief (Elevation) Buffalo Ridge


22 Minnesota Relief (Elevation) Driftless Area

23 Glacier’s Southern Edge

24 Driftless Area SE MN is described as “Driftless” because it was never touched by glaciers

25 Driftless Area Driftless area has no glacial drift Few lakes and many rivers and streams Millions of years of erosion visible

26 Minnesota Relief (Elevation) Red River Valley

27 Minnesota’s 3 Continental Divides A continental divide is a high point of land separating the direction rivers flow Most of southern MN’s water drains into Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico Much of Arrowhead drains into Lake Superior eventually reaching Atlantic NW MN drains north to Lake Winnipeg and Hudson Bay Laurentian Divide

28 Laurentian Divide From Lookout Mountain

29 MN’s Glacial Lakes Lake Agassiz Lake Duluth Lake Minnesota Brown’s Valley

30 Glacial Lake Agassiz When last glacier melted the drainage path of the melt water was blocked Lake Agassiz formed until glacier melted Overflow created Minnesota River Sediments settled to the bottom filling in low spots and creating an extremely flat surface

31 Red River Valley Red River Valley is an extremely flat area that was once covered by Lake Agassiz Sediments fell to bottom creating thick and sticky soils known as “gumbo”

32 Red River of the North Why is the path of the Red River Valley so crooked? The land is so level the river struggles to find a consistent downhill slope

33 Red River of the North Downtown Moorhead/Fargo

34 Moorhead Floods Spring 2009

35 Red River Valley Arrowhead Driftless Buffalo Ridge MN’s Physical Regions Moraine and Lakes

36 MN Topography

37 Minnesota’s Climate

38 Minneapolis Climate Humid Continental Wide ranges in temperatures

39 MN Temperatures Hot Summers and Cold Winters

40 MN Precipitation Most of the moisture that falls in MN comes from Gulf of Mexico Precipitation greatest in the SE and least in the NW Jet Stream

41 March 29, Distinct Seasons

42 MN Growing Season Consecutive Days Averaging 43 o F or More Only southern MN has a long enough growing season for corn

43 Minnesota’s Natural Vegetation

44 MN Natural Vegetation

45 Coniferous Forests

46 Deciduous Forests

47 Prairie

48 MN Natural Vegetation Natural vegetation is an indicator of a region’s precipitation, temperatures and soil NE MN mostly coniferous forest Central MN mostly deciduous S & W MN mostly prairie

49 Percent of MN in Commercial Forests 70% of MN’s commercial forest industry located in NE MN

50 Natural Soil Fertility

51 MN Soil Fertility Best soils are found in the southern and western MN Least fertile soils are found in northeast MN (thin, rocky and acidic podzol soils)

52 Minnesota’s Natural Regions

53 MN Natural Vegetation Arrowhead Dairy Belt Corn Belt Red River Valley

54 MN’s Natural Regions Arrowhead Dairy Belt Corn Belt Red River Valley

55 MN Topography


57 Natural Soil Fertility

58 Percent of Land in Farms Arrowhead

59 Ice-scoured by glaciers Thin and rocky soils Cool temps and short growing season Coniferous forest Podzol (acidic) soils Little agriculture Much land remains in forests Paper, mining and tourism impotant economic activities

60 MN’s Natural Regions Arrowhead Dairy Belt Corn Belt Red River Valley

61 Dairy Belt Hilly topography Glacial moraines Many lakes and marshes Soil better than Arrowhead but not as good as the Corn Belt Most farmers raise livestock, particularly dairy cattle

62 MN’s Agricultural Regions Arrowhead Dairy Belt Corn Belt Red River Valley

63 Percent of Land in Farms Red River Valley

64 Once the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz Extremely flat Spring floods common Thick and sticky “gumbo” soils Soils are soil to dry in the spring Short growing season

65 MN’s Natural Regions Arrowhead Dairy Belt Corn Belt Red River Valley

66 Percent of Land in Farms Corn Belt

67 Buffalo Ridge Rock County

68 Corn Belt Relatively flat topography except “Buffalo Ridge” in southwest corner Thick, black soils Long growing season Adequate precipitation One of the best agricultural regions in the nation

69 MN’s Agricultural Regions Corn Belt Dairy Belt Arrowhead Red River Valley

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