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The Earliest Americans Print text
THE MIDWEST >> THE GREAT LAKES ENVIRONMENTAL TUMULT COMPLEX RECORD LOST LEGACY
   

The Midwest was a place of environmental tumult, forming and reforming in shifting equations of ice and water, climate and topography. Before people arrived, hundreds of thousands of years of advancing and retreating glaciers scoured the land—until a warming trend loosened the cold’s grip. The first midwesterners likely arrived by 13,500 years ago, probably from the northwest or west. Roughly the northern half of Minnesota was under a mantle of ice, as was upper Wisconsin and much of Michigan.

Further south the Great Lakes overflowed with glacial melt. Occasional bouts of frigid, dry weather would temporarily reverse the process, and the shore expanded. The topography was in near-constant flux, with what has been called an “accordion of habitats.” Some witnessed this ebb and flow in their lifetimes.

  (illustration) Paleoindian children running.
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Map of North America with glacier.

Trekking across a continent still taking shape.

<<  SCULPTED BY GLACIERS

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