Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

FYRES: Research

Blowout in Kitchel-Lindquist dune preserve

The Evolution of the Kitchel-Lindquist Blowouts

Mentored by: James Karsten
Team: Gabe LePage, Michael Messina, Danny Shisler, Jory Smith

Project Description (from report abstract): Sand transport and vegetation are important influences on blowout evolution, but little research has focused on their effects on Lake Michigan coastal blowouts.  This study investigated the patterns of vegetation and sand transport on two large, saucer-type blowouts in Kitchel-Lindquist Dunes Preserve, Ottawa County, Michigan.  A variety of methods were used including erosion pins, sand traps, GPS mapping, and observation and classification of vegetation.  The two blowouts are active, with sand movement from exposed deflation areas over the blowout rims to deposition areas on the vegetated leeward slopes.  There was no evidence of sand moving into the blowouts from the west. Blowout vegetation was concentrated on the rims and leeward slopes, with very little vegetation in the windward deflation areas.  Most of the vegetation was American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata) and little bluestem bunchgrass (Schizachyrium scoparium), along with dune-building shrubs on the leeward slopes.  These plant communities are consistent with active blowouts with significant amounts of sand movement.  Some of the species suggest that surfaces went through periods of stability before the present active stage.  The northern blowout is less active than the southern blowout, and it might be in undergoing a period of natural stabilization. Interactions between processes and vegetation on the Kitchel-Lindquist blowouts illustrate the dynamic nature of Lake Michigan coastal dunes. Abstract (pdf)

Research Report: Karsten, James, Gabriel LePage, Michael Messina, Daniel Shisler and Jory Smith (2013). “Sand Transport and Vegetation on Two Lake Michigan Blowouts in Ottawa County, Michigan.” FYRES: Dunes Research Report #8. Grand Rapids (MI): Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies, Calvin College. 22 p. Report (pdf)

Conference Presentation: Karsten, James, Gabriel LePage, Michael Messina, Daniel Shisler, Jory Smith (2013). "Sand transport and vegetation on two Lake Michigan coastal blowouts." North-Central Section of the Geological Society of America (Kalamazoo, MI), 2-3 May 2013. Abstract (pdf)

Research Information

This project is one of six FYRES research projects in 2012-2013.

FYRES 2012-2013 produced 6 research projects, 6 presentations (5 papers and 1 poster) at the North-Central meeting of the Geological Society of America, and 5 research reports.