Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey home  
Research programs at the Survey
Survey news and information
Survey publications
Survey staff
About the Survey
For more information
Other earth-science sites


Landscapes of Dane County, Wisconsin

D.M. Mickelson

cover of Landscapes of Dane County, Wisconsin booklet (ES43)

Date: 2007

$8.00 (40 p., 9 x 4.25, includes map), ES43

Order form


sketch of driftless areaTake a geologic tour of Dane County with Landscapes of Dane County, Wisconsin, newly published by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.

The booklet’s author, David M. Mickelson, an emeritus professor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Geoscience, explains how vast ancient seas, torrential rivers, persistent winds, and gigantic masses of ice have shaped the natural landscapes seen in today’s Dane County. Mickelson describes the geologic causes of what can be seen and follows each description with an exploration of the parts of the county that showcase specific geologic features.

Landscape and geologic contrasts are readily apparent on the full-color map that accompanies the booklet. The eastern two-thirds of the county abounds with glacial landforms. Hundreds upon hundreds of drumlins—small, teardrop-shaped elongated hills—dot the landscape. Moraines, ridges that formed at the glacier’s edge, were a dumping ground for rock debris that the glacier carried from great distances. But travel a little farther west, and you can see how all the county probably looked prior to the ebb and flow of glaciers: The western third of the county is much more rugged. And instead of pooling in lakes, water in the Driftless Area has maintained the intricately branching drainage patterns characteristic of old landscapes.

The map also highlights the locations of many parks that allow the user to see where the county’s easily accessible public spaces lie in relation to the geology.

spruce branchThe beautifully illustrated, 40-page publication is a handy size (approximately four by nine inches), easy to carry in your glove compartment or tuck into a backpack; the map folds for storage in the back of the booklet.  


thumbnail image of map from Landscapes of Dane County, Wisconsin booklet (ES43)