Walking along the shores of Lake Superior, you might just find something amazing. Agates!
Last weekend I spent some time on the beach at Little Girl’s Point on Lake Superior in Michigan. This is a favorite spot for rock hunters. You’ll see miles of rounded pebbles and only 1 in 10,000 is an agate. So what is an agate and how are they formed?
Agates are semi-precious gemstones. They were formed in the lava of a once volcanic earth. Air bubbles were trapped in this hot liquid rock and rising mineral rich water filled the air bubbles giving room for an agate to be born. This was a billion years ago, literally. These rocks were formed before the plants, before the animals, back when the atmosphere was methane and ammonia without oxygen. The moon was much closer then with a gravitational pull 100 times stronger than we know today. A 3 foot tide now would have been a 300 foot tide back then! Can you image a moon on the horizon, 100 times the present size in appearance? It was a far different world then. Continents were shifting and colliding; life was forming. 70,000 years ago, the glaciers started to move over our continent. They dug up the land and spread the agates around with their icy fingers. You can find them all over Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Lake Superior agates are known to be the oldest in the world and the most sought after.
Below you’ll see some of the stones I found last weekend at Lake Superior…
Some of these are agates, most aren’t, but each of these stones has a story of its own. When I hold an ancient rock, I hold something older than life as we know it. Within these stones lies a living history, evidence of the early tides, volcanoes and lava floes, fossils, and mountain ranges. So next time I’m at Lake Superior, I won’t just look for agates, I’ll look at the landscape and the wonderful water, I’ll imagine what the world was like when these rocks where being formed and I’ll remember that the stones have a life of their own. If you ever decide to go rock hunting, I recommend you educate yourself before going so that you know what to look for. Check out this link for an informative website on agates in the area…http://www.superiortrails.com/rock-hound.html
I hope you find a ten pound agate!