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Saturday, January 13, 2018

DIKE at ALEXANDER, MINNESOTA

Long, long, long, long ago there was a big lake in Minnesota.  
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The big lake was teaming with boats, men, food, fauna, fur, and females.  The older men, who had rowed on the waters from the Mediterranean said the place reminded them of "Alexander." 
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Dikes at Alexander Lake
This is the Alexander, Minnesota area showing the Dikes on the south side of what used be, 3,700 years ago, the Alexander Lake.
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As large bodies of water go, the lake was relatively shallow.  Dikes required only 30 feet in elevation.
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But the large lake surrounded by the low elevation of the dikes  enabled the Copper Haulers to move supplies many miles over water by boats rather than carry the burden on their backs.
Contour map,
 Lake of Alexander MN.
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The DAM that created the lake is located out of the picture to the northeast. These red dots outline the dike area that will be shown in detail later. Notice the narrow configuration of the earth mounds and the consistent line of those mounds from East to West. 
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There is not any visible water course that would have created these mounds.  So a good assumption is that these dikes were man made
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The important elevation appears to be 1,400 feet.  That elevation can be seen near the top of the dike in the center.
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West of the dikes (around Salem Ch.) the ground exhibits a pattern that may have been caused by ice and water erosions, which, maybe, took place for ten or more centuries.
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If the DAM site was choked with ice, the expanding lake ice driven by the north wind may have pushed over a weak section of dikes.
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Then the "break out" may have happened. That repeated erosion of the following centuries might have removed most of the traces of dikes.
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Significantly, just west of the Salem Ch. the ground rises rapidly to more than 1,400 feet.
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My pencil was resting on that point, while I was asking, "If this area to the east was a lake, what held the water from flowing to the southwest?
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Only THEN, did I recognize the dikes on the other side of a long gap, where erosion took the earth away.
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The 1,350 elevation line may indicate the base of dikes, which may have been 50 feet higher nearly four millennium ago.
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Alexandria Lake did exist!!
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Some of the DIKE still exists!!
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Alexandria Lake was man-modified to make a lake surface of about 1,400 feet.  The thousands of men, who pulled their hundreds of boats to an elevation of 1,400 feet, were there to haul copper to Europe.
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Their winter resting place at Maya was a long float downstream after a few portages at the start.
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Dikes at Alexander Lake
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The bus was approaching Runestone park from the southwest.
Robin took this picture through the front window of the tour bus.  
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If you look close, you can see the dikes.  Their elevation is shown by the light spots--the sky beyond the dikes-- through the trees.

    Dikes at Alexander Lake
with line showing elevation
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The white line on the right and the red line on the left indicate the top of the dikes.
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After months of planning, I had a growing anticipation to find REAL evidence at that spot.  But we were running behind schedule.  I did not know what Robin was doing.  I thought I had blown the most important scene. 
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But LOOK!

You can see dikes made about 3,700 years ago by men, who came to America to haul the pure copper back to the Mediterranean so those guys like Goliath could wear a copper breastplate and a bronze helmet.
An image of the water "ladder."
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The black line indicates the probable path, over which the men pulled empty boats floating on a shallow stream of water. 
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The guys had pulled boats upstream on flowing water many times since they started up the Nelson River a year before. Now they had pulled their boat into a lake surgace 1400 feet above sea level. 
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From here to Maya, the water flowed downstream.  After a night  or two of R&R, they rowed west to pick up a load of incoming supplies.  Then they rowed east, slithered down the spillway, to the Mississippi. then they floated down to sit and lie at that little campgroumd (Minneapolis). Then they floated down the father of waters, MISSISSIPPI,  to the warm spot they loved to call MAYA (My Place). Life was good and getting better!
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Best of all they would have a chance to come back to have the adventure again because NOBODY over in the east would ever know, where all that copper came from.


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