My Scientific Summer

Abby Sampselle

Summer Fun

Over the summer, my mom and dad decided we would have a family vacation, since my mom and dad had off of work. After a week of looking for cool places to go, we finally decided to go to Upper Michigan. We stopped at Sualt St. Marie, Pictured Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls, and any other stops we found along the way. On June 12th, we got up early in the morning to load up the van, and set off for Sualt St. Marie. When we finally got there, it was the afternoon, so we bought tickets for the morning boat tour. We got to see many ships use the locks to go from Lake Superior to Lake Huron and back, and got to use twoof them ourselves on the tour. We then drove to Tahquamenon Falls, and walked on paths between the upper and lower falls. After spending a morning walking the falls, we drove on to Munising, and got tickets for another boat tour, to see Pictured Rocks. Our last stop before officially going home was The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. We toured an old lighthouse, and got to see the original bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Look at Me!

The Science of it...

The colors in the Pictured Rocks, which earn them their name, are caused by mineral deposition. As ground water from above seeps through the sandstone, it slowly deposits minerals into it. When it rains, water collects in the soil on the sandstone cliffs. The water collects minerals as it seeps through the soil, and slowly down the cliffs. As the water goes down the rock, it deposits the minerals it collected. Certain minerals are different colors, so when they are deposited, they stain the rocks, giving them a "painted" look.


The storms that sink ships are part of the water cycle. This cycle includes four steps that repeat, and they are evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. The water in Lake Superior evaporates, turning from a liquid to a gas, and condenses to form clouds. Once there is enough water vapor in the air, it precipitates, or rains/snows, depending on the temperature. Then, the water collects again in Lake Superior, and the process starts over.

I Wonder...

  • Which minerals cause what colors at Painted Rocks?
  • Can other types of rock be stained, or just sandstone?
  • Are there similar rock formations in other parts of the world?
  • How many ships have sunk on Lake Superior?
  • What causes ships to sink most often?
  • How tall was the biggest wave on Lake Superior?