A Witness to Time

A Witness to Time (HM1B33)

Location: Granite Falls, MN 56241 Chippewa County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 47.8448', W 95° 30.4466'

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[Great Seal of the State of Minnesota]


The Minnesota River Valley is a witness to time. Rocks formed 3.8 billion years ago — some of the oldest in the world — lie exposed on the valley floor. These grey, pink and red granite rocks are memorials to a fiery young earth when molten rocks in the planet's interior pushed against the earth's crust, deforming it, creating mountains four miles high. For eons, water and ice relentlessly eroded the mountains, eventually leaving a subdued plain.

At the close of the last ice age, 12,000 years ago, mile-high glaciers melted, forming Glacial Lake Agassiz to the north of here. The outlet for the lake was Glacial Lake Warren whose torrent carved the large valley you see. The abrasive current streamlined the rock outcroppings which lay in its way. The roar of rushing water and tumbling boulders would have been heard for miles. Today, the gentle Minnesota River creates barely a whisper as it flows almost unnoticed in the shadow of its prehistoric glory.

Across the river, spearheads, knives, hide-scrapers, and other stone tools have been discovered in association with extinct forms of bison. These bison-butchering sites have dated human occupation of the valley to 6,400 years ago.

Erected by the Minnesota Department of Transportation
HM NumberHM1B33
Series This marker is part of the Minnesota Department of Highways series
Historical PeriodPre Columbian
Historical PlaceOther, River, Town
Marker TypeOther
Marker ClassHistorical Marker
Marker StyleMounted
Year Placed1992
Placed ByMinnesota Department of Transportation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 5:09pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
Location DescriptionThe "A Witness to Time" marker is mounted on a stone wall, part of a MNDOT scenic overlook along US 212/MN 23. This overlook should not be confused with the 1937 WPA-built Granite Falls Overlook, which is in town, right along the Minnesota River where US 212 and MN 23 branch off from each other. The two overlooks are apparently unrelated.
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 301680 N 4963504
Decimal Degrees44.79741300, -95.50744300
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 47.8448', W 95° 30.4466'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 47' 50.6868" N, 95° 30' 26.7948" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)320, 507
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 15060-15078 Co Rd 40, Granite Falls MN 56241, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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