Making of a Lake: North Bar edition

North Bar Lake by Jeff Dehmel

North Bar Lake by Jeff Dehmel

Seven years ago, we shared this photo of North Bar Lake. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore says:

The small lake below is North Bar Lake. The name describes how the lake formed: it is ponded behind a sand bar. At times, the sand bar builds up and separates North Bar Lake from Lake Michigan. At other times, a small connecting channel exists between the two lakes. North Bar Lake occupies part of a former bay on Lake Michigan.

This ancient bay was flanked by headlands on both sides: Empire Bluffs on the south and Sleeping Bear Bluffs on the north. Shorelines have a natural tendency to become straighter with time. Wave action focuses on the headlands and wears them back, while shoreline currents carry sediment to the quiet bays and fill them in. Deeper parts of the bay are often left as lakes when sand fills in the shallower parts.

The same process that formed North Bar Lake also formed many of the other lakes in northern Michigan: Glen, Crystal, Elk and Torch Lakes, for example.

Do yourself a favor and jump in this lake at least once – it’s such a unique part of our Lakeshore!!

Jeff took this photo nine years ago in October. Is it mean to share a fall photo on July 30th? Probably, but I’m still smarting from seeing CANDY CORN on display this morning. Grab that summer before it’s gone people!!

More in Jeff’s Sleeping Bear Dunes gallery on Flickr.