Thursday, June 5, 2008

Still in Iowa

We’ve had a fun couple of days. We’ve hiked a little more on some of the local trails. We just love all of the smells and sights and sounds. Walking along you smell earthy smells then pass some real floral fragrances then pass by the fresh smell of a lake and back into an earthy musky area. Just the use of all of your senses is great.

The Coral Ridge Mall is quite unique. Don’t know if it’s any larger than any of ours in Michigan, but this one had a Children’s Museum and an indoor ice arena. Something that most of us wouldn’t notice, but my daughter brought to my attention recently was what do you do with a small child when you have to use the bathroom? The restroom that I went into at the mall had a small jump seat (like in an airplane) attached to the wall in the stall that you can strap the child into leaving you free to do – whatever. Not something that we all need, but you can see how it would come in handy.
We had hiked in the Devonian Fossil Gorge area a few times, but today we sat through the movie at the visitor center. Very interesting. The dam was completed in 1958 on the Iowa River upstream from Iowa City, this structure was built primarily for flood reduction. The outlet below the dam is designed for a maximum release of 20,000 cubic feet (150,000 gallons) or water per second.
During the summer of 1993, a record flood brought 41,000 cubic feet per second of water into Coralville Lake. The Emergency Spillway just west of the Dam released the excess flow. The overflow lasted 28 days and reached 17,000 cubic feet per second as the Lake level rose 5 feet above the top of the Spillway. The road and campground at the base of the Spillway were washed away together with as much as 17 feet of soil, exposing the Devonian age seafloor beneath.
This left a unique opportunity to explore a 375 million year old seafloor and discover fossil remains of the sea life that once inhabited this tropical marine environment.
This is the top of the dam that was compromised.

The water spilled over this wall and washed away the campground and 17 feet of soil. Leaving this gorge.

In this photo you can see that nature is starting to rebuild – placing soil in spots and then more vegetation is starting to take over.

The fossil images left in the limestone.

The weather in this area is nice then very stormy. The days have been pleasant, but watching the water levels rise when you’re not used to it can be disconcerting. The local news is now starting to compare this summer to the summer of 1993. For their sake I hope not. I’m just passing through, but people live here and this can be devastation.


Carolyn said...

It has been so much fun to read your tour of Iowa. I lived in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area until 5 years ago. It is neat to see it from a visitors point of view. Regarding the 1993 flood. It was insane. I hope it doesn't happen again. That was one long and expensive summer.

siteseer said...

It is insane!! To see just the tops of trees!! We're not in Michigan anymore.

Michelle said...

Wow, amazing stuff. It's so fun to read your posts. It's just like I'm on vacation with you guys.

Scooter n crew said...

Glad to hear that all is well there..same hear
Will mail your suprizzzze on Sat IF it will get there by then. Have fun see ya This was the first time that the comment on the bottom of blog seeya

Scooter n Crew

Harmony said...

Wow on those pictures! A flood can certainly be devestating...

And I want a portable version of seating the child on the wall ;)

Corine said...

People should read this.