Yesterday I realized that I did not have a really good image of the monument itself. Pictures of that will be for another time, partly because I will need to go back to it and take some. ;) Meanwhile, this image shows some of the plant life around the overlook. This is similar to the appearance of the original prairie before pioneers brought their plows. Grasses and forbs mingled and competed for space and moisture. Between and around tightly placed plant stalks live insects and other critters, small and large, helping to form the prairie ecosystem.
The monument park and overlook are on the crest of a hill which is part of the Loess Hills, a 200-mile long narrow band running north and south on the Iowa side of the Missouri River valley. The Loess (pronounced "luss") Hills were formed over thousands of years from wind-blown glacial sediment. At the end of the last Ice Age, glaciers melted and drained into the Missouri River valley. The melt water carried “glacial flour” (rock pulverized to powdery consistency as the glaciers moved). The sediment formed mud flats which dried during the winters. Prevailing winds picked up the dried particles and carried them eastward. Heavier particles dropped on the eastern edges of the drainage area, eventually forming the hills on which we now build overlooks.
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