Time & Deep Time

Want to study history? In American schools, most intro histories start with homo sapiens, us, and the European variety of us. But Earth's history is far longer. To get a sense of the scale of Earth history, imagine walking back in time, 100 years per step—every pace equal to more than three human generations. A... Continue Reading →


Pink Marble

You never know what you will see from one day to the next on Lake Michigan's Left Coast in Wisconsin. Infinite variety of weather, color, and season maintains anticipation of a dog's daily walk along the lakeshore. Specific rocks sometimes wash up in bunches. For a few days, a whole lot of jasper washed up... Continue Reading →

Extinction is Forever

Lake Michigan's Left Coast reveals Paleozoic limestone and dolomite dating to the Devonian Period (420–350 million years ago). Abundant in rocks from the Paleozoic are fossilized brachiopods, marine animals with upper and lower hard shells hinged at the rear. Though they first appear in rocks dating to the early Cambrian Period (540–485 million years ago), brachiopods reached... Continue Reading →

Basalt Boulder in Lake Michigan Surf

A basalt boulder on Lake Michigan's Left Coast, Wisconsin, in green, teal, and blue. Intended for canvas prints, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and larger. Visit Left Coast Creative on Facebook: @lakemichigansleftcoast. Photography © 2018 Elizabeth G Fagan for Left Coast Creative, Lake Michigan's Left Coast, Wisconsin, USA Photos and content © 2018 Elizabeth G Fagan –... Continue Reading →

Straight-Bodied Cephalopod

On Lake Michigan's Left Coast in Wisconsin, thousands of ghostly images appear in the millions of rocks on the beach. They are mostly highly eroded, nearly unrecognizable fossils. Imagine my surprise when, one day, this hunk of limestone appeared, incredibly clear, fossil side up. I was astonished. This fossil impression, with its distinctive parallel ridges,... Continue Reading →


Chert is a sedimentary rock made almost entirely of quartz crystals. In the Great Lakes region of North America, chert forms as veins in limestone or as layers between other sedimentary rocks. Chert is very hard, so any fossils that formed in or of chert may be less eroded than those softer rock, like limestone.... Continue Reading →

Gneiss and Schist at a Lake Michigan Beach

Granite is an igneous rock, but over time and under great pressure, granite can become either gneiss or schist, metamorphic rocks characterized by bands or stripes. Such boulders along the Lake Michigan shoreline may have been placed by residents as barriers between yard and beach. Rusty red stains may appear. Gneiss and schist at a... Continue Reading →

Pipe Organ Coral Fossil

From the beach at Lake Michigan's Left Coast Pipe organ coral fossil, probably from the Devonian Period (419.2–358.9 million years ago), by Left Coast Creative (© 2017 Elizabeth G Fagan) for the blog Lake Michigan's Left Coast More about Left Coast Creative services & the blog Lake Michigan's Left Coast

Coal Balls, Fossils from the Carboniferous Period

The rocks on Lake Michigan's Left Coast are incredibly rich in color, thanks in part to waves of glaciation that brought so many types of rocks to the region. Rich geological history spanning many rock-forming processes plays equal part in the palette. The warm caramel-brown swirls of these coal balls are interspersed with graphite grays... Continue Reading →

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