WATCH THE VIDEO: Wandering Wisconsin: Dells of the Eau Claire
Our state has a very interesting geologic history.
Though you wouldn’t know it when driving through the rolling Wisconsin hills dotted with dairy farms, at one point a long time ago things looked a little different.
Geologists believe that about two billion years ago massive volcanoes were centered in what we know today as Marathon County! Why do they think that? The Dells of the Eau Claire.
When the lava from these ancient volcanoes hardened into rhyolite–some of the hardest rocks on the planet–millions of years of tectonic shifting tilted that horizontal rock vertically. That’s how today we see those beautiful chunks of rocks bolt from the ground seemingly soaring toward the sky.
But wait…where did the volcanoes go then?
The glaciers steamrolled those volcanoes when they retreated northward, whittling them down to smooth rolling hills. Glacial melting provided the water needed to erode away sections into the Eau Claire River, giving us what we see today. Few places on earth can you see naturally occuring square rock formations paried with smooth circular edges because of sand and water erosion.
For more information on Dells of the Eau Claire and the other parks in the Marathon County Parks family, visit them online here.