Friday, May 7, 2010

The Biggest Dam Beaver Dam on Earth

Continuing my exploration of frustration in Google Maps, here's the largest beaver dam known to exist. It's a bit southwest of Lake Claire in northeast Alberta.

View Larger Map, because God forbid that we would give you the embedding code for a vast swath of blank white

I had seen an article on this discovery at The Telegraph (UK) a few days ago, but the geographical description was not good, and the image reduced to the point I couldn't make out the lat-long numbers. Then a few hours ago, Dave Bressan at Cryology and Co. posted a better image, and linked to an older discussion of the role of beavers in shaping landscapes. It's also visible in FlashEarth, but the resolution isn't nearly as good.

If you had asked me where Lake Claire was a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have known. I might have thought you meant Lake St. Clair. But on April 24, I was exploring the area in flash earth after seeing a very odd delta posted by Anne at Pathological Geomorphology. And now I can tell you that Lake Claire looks as if it was once part of Lake Athabasca, but has been isolated from the larger body of water by a strange coalescence of deltas from the Peace and Athabasca Rivers. So this beaver dam is just one more pathological landform in an area that's lousy with them.

As long as I'm on the topic of Beavers and the geoblogosphere, in the past two days, there have been two Oregon State Geoscience faculty in here at my favorite coffee shop. One of them came to my attention by talking about geology nearby, and pulling out a drool inspiring geological map of NW OR. The other I recognized from photos I've seen of her. I know of two OSU alumni (other than myself) who are involved with the geoblogosphere: Anne (mentioned above and in the previous post), and Erik Klemetti at Eruptions. Are there any other OSU Geotypes out there?

Followup, 7:02: The NYT has a little more info.


Distributorcap said...

maybe the beavers can cap the well in the gulf

David Bressan said...

After I realized this new discovery and read this old message

I can only say BEHOLD THE BEAVERS!!

Pretty interesting considering the geomorphological impact of animals...

Lockwood said...

Thanks for the link, Dave. It is indeed interesting!