Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Parkers Prairie Lake Coring


On February 16, 2008, eight brave and enthusiastic 8th grade earth science students from Parkers Prairie High School ventured onto the ice on Lake Adley (on the southern end of Parkers Prairie) to collect sediment cores. Students on the ice were: Lacey Carlson, Krsity Fyhrie, Amber Guenther, Tamara Schmidt, Eloise Warren, and Katherine Wippler. They were joined by their teacher, Marlene Schoeneck, Tom Smith (science teacher at Jefferson High School, Alexandria), and Emily Wolf (science teacher at Osakis High School). In addition, we were benefited by the skills and knowledge of local farmer and substitute teacher, Fred Liljegren. Fred worked on lake cores as part of his graduate program at the University of Minnesota. He was particularly looking at the influx of ragweed pollen as evidence of European settlers.

Our first attempts at getting cores proved fruitless. The math was checked again and again. What was the problem? Finally, someone (of course not one of the brainiac adults) realized that a section of drive rod was still sitting on the back of Fred's pick-up! :0 After that stunning realization, we were able to collect some great core samples!

Lake Adley is unique in that it was used as the outlet for city sewage for many years. Some students still refer to it as "Turd Lake" because of its infamous history! Adley was also known to have dried up back in the drought days of the "Dirty '30s". Lifetime resident, Donna Sigfrid, remembers her cousin landing his plane on the lake bottom back in those dry years! These environmental changes should make the search for differences in lake stratigraphy all the more interesting!

We are hoping to spend the last several weeks of school analyzing the core samples. Students will be coming up with research questions that they would like to pursue. With all of the data present in the lake cores, we expect it to be an ongoing investigation that students will be able to pursue well into the future.

Stay tuned for our investigation questions and data!