The Toleston Shoreline is the third ancient shoreline of the precursor to Lake Michigan, Lake Chicago. It takes its name from the village of Tolleston, now a portion of Gary, Indiana. The shoreline formed when Lake Chicago was high enough to drain through the Chicago outlet into the Des Plaines River. The beach is 18 to 25 feet (5.5 to 7.6 m) above the level of Lake Michigan. The Indiana segment and the Illinois segment, north to Evanston are still visible. North of Evanston and Michigan City, Indiana, the beach has been eroded by later ice movement or shoreline wave action.
The Toleston beach appeared to be present at Holland, Michigan, at the eastern end of Black Lake, being built out between the lake and the marsh, which extends east from Holland a short distance. It is there built up to a height of 21 to 22.5 feet (6.4 to 6.9 m) above Lake Michigan, as shown by Goldthwait's levels. From Holland it seems likely to have continued northward to the Grand River, but as that region is extensively covered with sand blown from the modern shore the beach is largely concealed. In Springport, Goldthwait's levels show the beach to be about 21 feet (6.4 m) above Lake Michigan. From the Grand River it appears to run northwestward, passing just east of Little Black Lake on the line of Muskegon and Ottawa counties and coming to the shore of Lake Michigan directly west of the north end of the lake. There is probably no point between Holland and the Grand River where its distance from the present shore exceeds six miles (9.7 km), and throughout much of the distance it probably does not exceed two or three miles (3.2 or 4.8 km).
The Toleston beach may have been only partly formed by Lake Chicago. It has a level that was closely approximated if not reached by Lake Algonquin. The occurrence of a lake at this level in Algonquin time makes this beach a part of the Algonquin beach of the upper Great Lakes region.The Algonquin beach carries in a few places molluscan shells, and this beach of Lake Chicago is in places richly supplied with these shells. In this respect it contrasts with the Calumet and Glenwood beaches, from which molluscan remains have as yet been reported at but one locality, near Bowmanville, north of Chicago. Although Lake Algonquin did have two outlets (past Chicago and Port Huron), sufficient reason for its later complete discharge by Port Huron is found in the fact that the latter outlet was through easily eroded drift deposits and the Chicago outlet was over a rock sill.
Numerous ridges in the southern portion of the Lake Michigan basin at levels a little below that of the Toleston beach probably belong, the higher to Lake Algonquin and the lower to Lake Nipissing. Most of them rise 10 to 15 feet (3.0 to 4.6 m) above Lake Michigan, or about 595 feet (181 m) above sea level, but some reach about 600 feet (180 m) and others not more than 590 feet (180 m). The Chicago outlet seems to have ceased to be functional at the time they were developed, for they in a measure choke up or bridge over its head. Furthermore, they are about as low as the bed of the outlet, so that no depth of water would have been possible along the outlet. These ridges are exceptionally well displayed in the south part of Chicago in the vicinity of the university, and they are even better developed just east of the Illinois-Indiana State line. On a line running north from Gibson station there are by actual count 32 beachlets separated by shallow sags. North of Waukegan a cut bank appears at a level corresponding to that of the beaches in the southern end of the lake basin, its base being 12 to 15 feet (3.7 to 4.6 m) above Lake Michigan level. On the Michigan shore east of Bass Lake in Mason County a cut bank was noted whose level at base is about 12 feet (3.7 m) above Lake Michigan. Slight indications of wave action at a level about 12 feet (3.7 m) above Lake Michigan are found at several other points in recesses along the Michigan shore.
Attention has been directed to sand ridges and low dunes that are apparently connected with the Glenwood beach. They are, however, inconspicuous compared with the dunes that lie along the modern shore. Wherever the beach is sandy, dunes are in process of formation, from the head of the lake in northwestern Indiana along the entire eastern shore of Lake Michigan to the Straits of Mackinac. The longest uninterrupted stretches are between the mouths of Kalamazoo and White rivers in Michigan and from the vicinity of St. Joseph, Michigan, southwestward past Michigan City, Indiana, to the head of the lake. Very prominent dunes occupy much of the interval between Ludington and Manistee, and a prominent dune belt about 15 miles (24 km) long in northwestern Oceana and southwestern Mason counties extends several miles each way from Pentwater. Many of the dunes reach an altitude of 150 feet (46 m) and in a few places exceed 200 feet (61 m). The highest are confined to a belt scarcely a mile in width, but lower ones appear for several miles back of these, in the sandy area between Holland and Muskegon and in that west from Michigan City. Dunes are lacking chiefly at points where the lake is encroaching on morainic ridges, as on those of the Lake Border morainic system in the southern end of the basin.
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third-largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron. To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the 3+1⁄2 miles wide, 295 feet deep, Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart; the two are technically a single lake.
Lake Agassiz was a large glacial lake in central North America. Fed by glacial meltwater at the end of the last glacial period, its area was larger than all of the modern Great Lakes combined.
Indiana Dunes National Park is a United States national park located in northwestern Indiana managed by the National Park Service. It was authorized by Congress in 1966 as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and was redesignated as the nation's 61st national park on February 15, 2019. The park runs for about 20 miles (32 km) along the southern shore of Lake Michigan and covers 15,349 acres (6,212 ha). Along the lakefront, the eastern area is roughly the lake shore south to U.S. 12 or U.S. 20 between Michigan City, Indiana, on the east and the Cleveland-Cliffs steel plant on the west. A small extension south of the steel mill continues west along Salt Creek to Indiana 249. The western area is roughly the shoreline south to U.S. 12 between the Burns Ditch west to Broadway in downtown Gary, Indiana. In addition, there are several outlying areas, including Pinhook Bog, in LaPorte County to the east; the Heron Rookery in Porter County, the center of the park; and the Calumet Prairie State Nature Preserve and the Hobart Prairie Grove, both in Lake County, the western end of the park.
Indiana Dunes State Park is an Indiana State Park located in Porter County, Indiana, United States, 47 miles (75.6 km) east of Chicago. The park is bounded by Lake Michigan to the northwest and is surrounded by as well as within the authorized boundaries of Indiana Dunes National Park, a unit of the National Park Service; the NPS owns the water from the ordinary high water mark to 300 feet (91 m) offshore. The 1,530-acre (619.2 ha) Dunes Nature Preserve makes up the bulk of eastern part of the park, and includes most of the park's hiking trails and dune landscape. This was one of the first places Richard Lieber considered when establishing the Indiana State Park system. Like all Indiana state parks, there is a fee for entrance. Indiana Dunes State Park was established in 1925 and designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974.
Northwest Indiana, nicknamed The Region after the Calumet Region, comprises Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and Newton counties in Indiana. This region neighbors Lake Michigan and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. According to the 2020 Census, Northwest Indiana has a population of 831,080 and is the state's second largest urban area after the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area. It is also the home of the Indiana Dunes, parts of which have been preserved through conservation efforts. The town of Ogden Dunes houses the Hour Glass, a museum showcasing the ecological and conservation efforts of O. D. Frank.
Lake Chicago was a prehistoric proglacial lake that is the ancestor of what is now known as Lake Michigan, one of North America's five Great Lakes. Fed by retreating glaciers, it drained south through the Chicago Outlet River.
Lake Maumee was a proglacial lake and an ancestor of present-day Lake Erie. It formed about 17,500 calendar years, or 14,000 Radiocarbon Years Before Present (RCYBP) as the Huron-Erie Lobe of the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation. As water levels continued to rise the lake evolved into Lake Arkona and then Lake Whittlesey.
The Valparaiso Moraine is a recessional moraine that forms an immense U around the southern Lake Michigan basin in North America. It is the longest moraine. It is a band of hilly terrain composed of glacial till and sand. The Valparaiso Moraine forms part of the Saint Lawrence River Divide, bounding the Great Lakes Basin. It begins near the border of Wisconsin and Illinois and extends south through Lake, McHenry, Cook, DuPage and Will counties in Illinois, and then turns southeast, going through northwestern Indiana. From this point, the moraine curves northeast through Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties of Indiana into Michigan. It continues into Michigan as far as Montcalm County.
The Tinley Moraine is a moraine around the Lake Michigan basin in North America. It was formed during the Wisconsin Glaciation and is younger than the higher and wider terminal moraine called the Valparaiso Moraine, which is located farther from the lake than the Tinley Moraine. Compared to the Valparaiso Moraine, the Tinley Moraine is much narrower and occupies a similar swath, about 6 miles (10 km) closer to Lake Michigan, and passes through the communities of Flossmoor, Western Springs, and Arlington Heights. The moraine was named after the village of Tinley Park, a village southwest of Chicago that lies on the moraine.
The Kankakee Outwash Plain is a flat plain interspersed with sand dunes in the Kankakee River valley in northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois of the United States. It is just south of the Valparaiso Moraine and was formed during the Wisconsin Glaciation. As the glacier stopped at the Valparaiso Moraine, its meltwater was carried away to the outwash plain. On the south side of the moraine, where the elevation drops, the meltwaters eroded away valleys, carrying sand and mud with them. As the muddy meltwater reached the valley where the slope lessened, the water slowed, depositing the sand on the outwash plain. This created a smooth, flat, and sandy plain. Before its draining, the Kankakee Marsh, located on the outwash plain, was one of the largest freshwater marshes in the United States.
The Calumet Shoreline is an ancient shoreline of Lake Michigan located in the Lake Michigan Basin. It can be clearly seen as a sand ridge along Ridge Road south of Chicago. Closer to the lake from the Calumet Shoreline, there are the Tolleston shorelines and farther from the lake are the Glenwood Shoreline, the Tinley Moraine, and the Valparaiso Moraine. The shoreline is named after the Calumet Region of Northern Indiana.
The Glenwood Shoreline is an ancient shoreline of the precursor to Lake Michigan, Lake Chicago. It is named after the town of Glenwood, Illinois. The shoreline was formed when the lake was higher during the last ice age, while ice blocked the Straits of Mackinac. After the straits were freed, the lake receded and left behind a sand ridge at an elevation of about 640 feet (200 m) where the shore resided. This ridge can be seen clearly in Glenwood, Illinois, Dyer, Indiana, and Schererville, Indiana, all south of Chicago.
The Indiana Dunes comprise ten different habitats. Each provides for a unique combination of plants and animals. The range of the Indiana Dunes varies depending your source. The Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program uses the river drainage systems along the shoreline. This expands the area from the areas of lakeshore southward to the edges of the Valparaiso Moraine. This entire region has been dune landscapes since over 114,000 years before present (YBP). Traditionally, the Indiana Dunes area thought of as a narrow area along the shores of Lake Michigan, including the areas of Marquette Park in Gary, Indiana (1920), Indiana Dunes State Park (1926) and Indiana Dunes National Park,. The identified ten habitats can be found in these parks, where they have been preserved, but are also visible throughout the three counties of Northwest Indiana.
Lake Kankakee formed 14,000 years before present (YBP) in the valley of the Kankakee River. It developed from the outwash of the Michigan Lobe, Saginaw Lobe, and the Huron-Erie Lobe of the Wisconsin glaciation. These three ice sheets formed a basin across Northwestern Indiana. It was a time when the glaciers were receding, but had stopped for a thousand years in these locations. The lake drained about 13,000 YBP, until reaching the level of the Momence Ledge. The outcropping of limestone created an artificial base level, holding water throughout the upper basin, creating the Grand Kankakee Marsh.
Nipissing Great Lakes was a prehistoric proglacial lake. Parts of the former lake are now Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Lake Michigan. It formed about 7,500 years before present (YBP). The lake occupied the depression left by the Labradorian Glacier. This body of water drained eastward from Georgian Bay to the Ottawa valley. This was a period of isostatic rebound raising the outlet over time, until it opened the outlet through the St. Clair valley.
The Marseilles moraine is a terminal moraine that encircles the southern tip of Lake Michigan in North America. It begins near Elgin, Illinois, and extends south and west of Chicago metropolitan area, turning eastward 30 miles (48 km) to 40 miles (64 km) south of the lake in Kankakee and Iroqouis counties, entering Indiana. It formed during the Wisconsin glaciation. The glacier had been in retreat when it stopped for an extended period, depositing glacial till and sand creating the hills of the moraine.
Lake Saginaw occupied the basin of Saginaw Bay. There were two periods when it was an independent lake, not associated with a larger body of water in the Huron basin. The first Lake Saginaw was a contemporary of the last stages of Lake Maumee. When the ice border opened allowing these two lakes to become one, it entered the period of Lake Arkona. Then, the ice advanced, closing the link forming the second Lake Saginaw. This was during the time of Lake Whittlesey. When the ice margin retreated northward for the last time, it became the western bay of Lake Wayne and then of Lake Warren and Lake Lundy. During its periods as an independent lake, its outlet was west through Grand River channel.
The Lake Border Moraine is a complex group of moraines bordering the southern end of Lake Michigan. It can be traced north along the eastern shore of the lake basin and across the highlands between the northern Lake Michigan and Saginaw Bay. It continues around the Saginaw Basin into the "thumb" of Michigan, and south through southeastern Michigan on the eastern side of the "thumb." Along Lake Michigan, north to Holland the system is close to the shore. From Holland north to Oceana County it is 15 miles (24 km) to 25 miles (40 km) east of the shore. In Oceana County it forms the prominent "clay banks" along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It again bears inland from Hart, where more recent moraines reside between it and Lake Michigan. It runs north of the great interlobate moraine that exists between the Lake Michigan and Saginaw lobes of the Laurentian ice sheet. A little north of Cadillac turns to the east. A short distance from Cadillac, it splits with the southern ridge or outer member heading to the Saginaw basin. The northern ridge heads towards Lake Huron, but turns south before reaching the shore. In Newaygo and Lake counties it rest on an earlier interlobate moraine. It separates in Wexford and Missaukee counties to continue south along the west side of the Saginaw basin.
Lake Wayne formed in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair basins around 12,500 years before present (YBP) when Lake Arkona dropped in elevation. About 20 feet (6.1 m) below the Lake Warren beaches it was early described as a lower Lake Warren level. Based on work in Wayne County, near the village of Wayne evidence was found that Lake Wayne succeeded Lake Whittlesey and preceded Lake Warren. From the Saginaw Basin the lake did not discharge water through Grand River but eastward along the edge of the ice sheet to Syracuse, New York, thence into the Mohawk valley. This shift in outlets warranted a separate from Lake Warren. The Wayne beach lies but a short distance inside the limits of the Warren beach. Its character is not greatly different when taken throughout its length in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. At the type locality in Wayne County, Michigan, it is a sandy ridge, but farther north, and to the east through Ohio it is gravel. The results of the isostatic rebound area similar to the Lake Warren beaches.
The Calumet Aquifer is an aquifer underlying the land at the extreme southern tip of Lake Michigan. It underlies the northern third of Lake County, Indiana and the northern tenth of Porter County, as well as small parts of LaPorte County and Cook County, Illinois. It is notable chiefly for its high levels of contamination by industrial waste from factories and toxic waste dumps in the Calumet Region. It is bordered to the south by Valparaiso Moraine Aquifer, and to the north by Lake Michigan. It is underlain by a Silurian bedrock aquifer complex.