Maine Desert Facts
- The remarkable location sometimes known as the Maine Desert remains an incredibly unexpected feature within its region. This astonishing marvel of the work of Nature also goes by the similarly descriptive common name of the Desert of Maine.
- Regardless of the name one uses, however, one indisputable fact about this site clearly stands out. That’s the fact that this location actually forms a surprising geological phenomenon. Thus, it shows that names can sometimes be quite deceptive.
- That holds true due to the fact that, in the minds and opinions of some individuals, this site does not qualify as a true desert. That perspective occurs because the surrounding climate remains much too wet and cold to meet some definitions.
- The formation of this truly astounding feature, furthermore, did not come about naturally. In point of fact, this quite dry, arid region, whether it constitutes an actual desert or not, actually owes its existence to human activity. That alone sets it apart.
- Nonetheless, the surprising knowledge of its origins does nothing to detract from its fascinating nature. Quite understandably, the very uniqueness of the Maine Desert serves to garner the formation with a more than modest claim to fame.
- This surprising statement holds true due to yet another fascinating statistic. That’s the fact the location has been preserved as a natural oddity. That’s additionally been the case since 1925. A small museum and gift shop also presently exist on the property.
Maine Desert Physical Description
For all the controversy surrounding the Maine Desert, several key facts stand out when one considers it. Firstly, regardless of its origins, it covers a tiny area. Secondly, however, a debate over whether or not it’s actually a desert remains ongoing among concerned scientists.
As a result of this continuing situation, the formation does not officially hold the title of the smallest desert on earth. In fact, for the present moment, at least, the somewhat larger Carcoss Desert, in Canada, also finds itself in the very same predicament.
But, regardless of any official status, the site constitutes an interesting phenomenon. In terms of size, though, the Maine Desert only covers approximately 40 acres (16.2 ha). In this, it aptly demonstrates the fact that size has no bearing on impressiveness.
No matter its official situation, the remarkable feature definitely qualifies as unique, at the very least. That’s due not only to its origins, but also to its very nature. This occurs because it does not, in fact, consist of sand. It’s actually composed of glacial silt.
Maine Desert History and Formation
While it formed only recently, the beginnings of the story of the Maine Desert begins roughly 10,000 years ago. At the end of the last ice age, the glaciers retreated. As they did so, the foundations for the future formation of this fascinating site actually began.
The actual site of this beginning presently represents the state of Maine, in the United States, in North America. During the course of the slow but inexorable retreat of these glaciers, the withdrawing ice sheet went to work creating the masterpiece.
As a result of that movement, the ice ground rocks into a fine powder, known as glacial silt. Over the passage of millennia, copious quantities of topsoil became deposited over this. This finished condition remained comparatively stable for many thousands of years.
Then came huge numbers of European settlers. Eventually, a local family established a farm on this site. This occurred in 1797. Yet the people failed to manage the land properly. Poor farming practices also combined with overgrazing to erode the topsoil.
One day, a small patch of the underlying sand appeared. Furthermore, this formation quickly spread, eventually taking over the entire farm. Subsequent to this development, the Maine Desert was born. To date, it’s depth has never been measured.
Eventually, bowing to the inevitable, the family abandoned the farm in 1919. A man named Henry Goldrup purchased the property in 1925. Recognizing its uniqueness, he opened the site as a tourist attraction. Today, nature appears to be slowly reclaiming the area.