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The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1923
(1923)

Schaefer, Joseph
A brief outline of Wisconsin history,   pp. [5]-16 ff. PDF (3.9 MB)


Page [5]


A BRIEF OUTLINE OF WISCONSIN HISTORY
                        JOSEPH SCHAFER
     Superintendent of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin
                     The Physical Basis
W ISCONSIN is described by the geologist as a very ancient
      land. He assigns to it a geological age of about fifteen mil-
lion years. This, to be sure, is only a kind of estimate; also, it is
probably an average of the ages of different rock formations, for
                  there is an older, mountainous formation in
the north and a newer plain-land in the south.
The mountains, in the course of ages, have
been so denuded and worn down by erosion
that they have now become nearly a plain also,
or what the geologist calls a peneplain.
  One of the most potent forces operating to
modify the surface features of the land was
the glacier. The glacial ice sheet forming in
the far north moved over the greater part of
the state, retreated, advanced, retreated and
advanced yet again, before it was finally
  JOSEPH SCHAFERforced, by the moderating climate, to retire
                  into the Arctic regions. When the glacier had
done its work the surface of Wisconsin which was affected by it
was nearly as we know it today. But by a strange freak of
the forces which controlled the glacial movement, it missed
entirely one large section of the state. That section, because
it remains free from glacial drift, such as bowlders and gravel,
is called the Driftless Area.   It includes in Wisconsin the
counties of Lafayette, Iowa, Grant, Crawford, Richland,
Vernon, LaCrosse, and Trempealeau, also portions of Buffalo,
Eau Claire, Jackson, Monroe, Sauk, Dane, Green, and Mara-
thon. It also extends into the neighboring states of Minne-
sota, Iowa, and Illinois, though 13,360 of its 15,000 square
miles lie within the boundaries of our state. In most of the
Driftless Area the plain or plateau has been deeply eroded,


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