Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Lower Carver Rapids on the Minnesota River

Historically, the upper and lower Carver Rapids on the Minnesota River stopped steamboat traffic up the Minnesota River during times of low water.  Having the water level on the river low enough to expose the rapids had been described as a rarity, though the rapids have been exposed for much of the past year due to dry conditions found throughout the Minnesota River basin.  My first trip to the rapids took place last fall when the river was at 5.37 feet, according to the closest river gauge, and can be re-visited here.  Because of the lack of snow last winter and continued dry or drought conditions this summer, the river level has continued to fall to a current level of 3.66 feet.

The picture below shows the lower rapids a year ago from the southern bank of the Minnesota River.  Though the upper rapids were exposed at the time, the lower rapids were seemingly just below the surface of the water.

Ten months later, with the continued drop of the Minnesota River, the lower rapids have been exposed.  The picture below was taken from the northern bank of the Minnesota River.

The rapids are created as water flows over the Cambrian-aged Jordan Sandstone.  The bedrock here is one of the very few locations of exposed bedrock in Carver County, Minnesota.

Below is a 1.15 gigapixel image of the lower Carver Rapids taken from the northern bank of the Minnesota River.
To see the full size gigapan, click here.

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