Lakeshore Dunes

Why are there sand dunes in Michigan? It is a long way from the desert, but sand dunes can form anywhere that there is loose sand size particles and wind.  In short, the wind is significant along any shoreline, because the solar heating of land and water leads to winds. When the glaciers retreated from Michigan, only 10,000 years ago, they left plenty of loose sand as part of moraine and outwash.  And during the glacial retreat, when ice covered part of the land but there were also big lakes, the conditions for extreme Katabatic Winds were especially favorable. This is partly explained by albedo. So there are dunes all along Michigan’s many lake shores.  Many of these dunes are covered with vegetation and are not active unless they are disturbed by man’s activity or perhaps rising lake levels.

Read Chapter 18 in Michigan Geography and Geology