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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County

Mackesy, Lillian; Olen, Walter
Long long ago,   pp. 19-31 PDF (5.8 MB)

Page 19

By Lillian Mackesy and Walter A. Olen
  A million years ago and more, a vast,
shallow sea covered the central part of
what we know as Wisconsin, including
Outagamie County and the whole Fox
River Valley region. This long vanished
ocean lapped at the foot of a mountainous,
shield shaped mass of land which heaved
up in a great earth movement during what
geologists call the Lawrentian revolution
at a time when most of North America
was submerged in water.
  Completely without vegetation, erosion
started in this high area, crumbling great
areas of rock into waste that unhindered
stream and wind carried down into the
surrounding sea. Slowly this rock waste
spread out on the bottom of the shallow
waters, building layer upon layer of sedi-
ment until the original mountain looked
more like a plain.
  Records of the rocks show that this
earth process and erosion occurred many
times with the upthrust of earth, its
weathering and the slow, slow develop-
ment of land masses around it.
  When finally the land rose above the
water, the seas receded and marine life
ceased. The valley, now known as the
Fox, began to form as a result of its
geologic rock formation. The less resist-
ant shale lies under the deep lying lime-
stone in the valley with a cliff of Niagerian
limestone forming the steep eastern side
and shale forming the lower or western
side of the valley.
  In a later age huge ice masses spread
out from the far north and great glaciers
pushed their way downward, covering
most of Wisconsin. As the glacier moved
southward on the bed of what is now Lake
Michigan it sent branches out, one of
which covered the present Green Bay
region, pushing slowly across the present
county. The glaciers changed the land
surface of the country, leaving many small
lakes as the ice melted and gouged out the
channels of the Fox and Wolf rivers.
  It is supposed that the upper Fox River
once drained into the Wisconsin River.
Slowly the level of the land changed,
elevating one end and lowering the north-
eastern part. This caused a large lake to
be formed, which overflowed and found
the course of the lower Fox River by
following the path of least resistance. This
theory explains the opposite stream flow
of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers which
are separated only by a low divide at

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