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2010: Year of the Niagara EscarpmentThe Niagara Escarpment in Door County, Wisconsin, showing rugged cliff face along the shores of Lake Michigan, ©Linda Deith

The Niagara Escarpment stretches in a wide arc from eastern Wisconsin through Michigan's Upper Peninsula, across Ontario, Canada, and on past the Niagara Falls in New York.

The rock forming the escarpment was originally deposited as lime mud on an ancient sea floor about 430 million years ago. What remains is the result of weathering and erosion.

The Escarpment is home to over 240 different rare, threatened, or endangered plant and animal species, including white cedar trees that are more than 1,000 years old. It is also an important source of groundwater recharge. However, the natural cracks in the rocks and the thin layer of soil covering it leave the groundwater very vulnerable to contaminants. Read more about fractured bedrock in Wisconsin.

Help protect this fragile and unique environment. Visit the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network to learn more.

Related links

Niagara Escarpment Resource Network (maps, photos, events, and publications): http://www.escarpmentnetwork.org/

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (includes links to state parks, trails, and natural areas containing parts of the Escarpment): http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/publications/niagara/

The Niagara Escarpment in Door County, Wisconsin—a rock outcrop balanced on narrow columns of rocks ©Linda Deith