Wikipedia:WikiProject Michigan/Physical geography

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I started this subproject to better coordinate, organize, and improve all the article concerning Michigan's physical geography. I have worked extensively in this subject on Wikipedia, and I believe it's time I began taking a more constructive roll by organizing this subproject with the collaboration of others in this project. I'm a college graduate in geography, so it is something I'm familiar with. Plus, I think I'm familiar enough with Wikipedia after almost five years to get things mostly right. —№tǒŖïøŭş4lĭfė 16:44, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

So this project doesn't step on the toes of the cities subproject, here is the outline of articles that fall within the realm of physical geography. The cities subproject handles all the social geography articles relating to cities, villages, townships, and settlements in Michigan. This subproject deals with geological elements such as islands, rivers, lakes, mountains (there are a few), waterfalls, protected areas, etc. Also included in the scope of this subproject is the climate and weather of Michigan, which is a result of its physical geography.

Main categoriesEdit

The following list is not exhaustive and contains multiple subcategories to browse through the numerous articles.

Main topicsEdit

These individual articles are the most important within the scope of this subproject. The following articles provide great lists for ideas on creating articles or improving already existing ones. Please include {{WikiProject Michigan}} on the talk page for any new articles.

While this article is just an overview of Michigan's geography, chances are it's going to be the first place that someone will go to get any information on the subject. The article contains a lot of general information, but it could use a section relating to human geography. The article also needs to be touched up and better referenced.
I spent an enormous amount of time compiling this article but feel free to make any changes. I don't believe that every one of the islands on this list really deserves its own article, but island articles always survive if they have sources and more than just a sentence for a permanent stub. Should you decide to create an island article, please use the {{Infobox islands}} template and include coordinates and as much cited information as possible. Grassy Island is a fine example of a very small and useless island that has a great article. Mackinac Island is a fabulous featured article, but, of course, no other Michigan island is as well known.
While everyone knows the Great Lakes, there are 64,980 inland lakes in Michigan. However, only around 100 of these have their own articles, and many of those are just stubs. Of course, it would be infeasible for all the lakes to have their own articles, because some of them are probably no larger than a puddle. The list of lakes in Michigan article is far from comprehensive (and can probably never be without crashing the best web browsers), but it is still lacking many details. Same with the islands, lake articles needs to have some information and sources, as well as {{Infobox body of water}}. Walloon Lake and Lake of the Clouds are nice, modest lake articles that have pictures and a few sources.
Someone spent a large amount of time creating stub articles for most of the rivers in Michigan, but most of them simply state the river "is a river in Michigan" with generic infobox and link to an uninformative site. The list of rivers of Michigan article also contains numerous links to other rivers that aren't in Michigan but have the same name (e.g. Bell River, which links to a South African river). The article also lists only bodies of water known as "rivers" and excludes creeks and streams (see Category:Rivers of Michigan for a more comprehensive list). All articles need to contain {{Infobox River}} and more information than a generic sentence. While the more well known rivers (such as the Muskegon River and Detroit River) have limitless information available, it may be difficult to locate sources and available pictures for many of these smaller rivers.
The {{Protected Areas of Michigan}} template lists the majority of the Federal/State protected areas of Michigan, as does Category:Protected areas of Michigan. The most important of these areas is Isle Royale National Park and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, among others. Michigan also has 98 state parks, and many of those articles aren't uniform and don't contain a functional infobox or an infobox at all (see {{Infobox protected area}}). These infoboxes should contain the File:Michigan Locator Map with US.PNG image instead of the broader File:US Locator Blank.svg or homemade versions (such as in Straits State Park). While the article is not outstanding, Sterling State Park illustrates the use of the locator map in the infobox. Other pictures are great too, but a location map should be included to give a reader an understanding of where exactly it is in Michigan. Protected areas on a national scale, such as Isle Royale, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore should include the US Locator Blank image and not Michigan's. There aren't that many protected areas (as compared to islands, lakes, and rivers), so the cleaning of this area shouldn't be too much work.

Miscellaneous topicsEdit

Climate of MichiganEdit

I think Michigan deserves its own climate article (Climate of Michigan) and not the one that redirects to a section in the main Michigan article. Michigan has some notoriously unique climate and weather patterns, as well as an infamous history of brutal storms, such as the Great Lakes Storm of 1913. I believe the Climate of Florida and Climate of Minnesota articles are very good— the latter being a featured article. A Michigan climate article should include a chart of average climates for some of the larger cities, as well as a discussion on the wide variety of Michigan's climate zones. It could also include information about rain/snowfall and other general data. In addition that, there should be a Climate of Detroit article. The climate section in the Detroit article is fairly poor. Detroit is the 11th largest city in the United States, and while it doesn't have any extraordinarily unique weather, it can provide extra information to draw readers to learn more about Detroit. The Climate of Dallas and Climate of Miami are good examples of city climate articles.

Geology of MichiganEdit

There is a fine line between geography and geology (physical geography). Michigan has unique and fascinating geology dating back hundreds of millions of years. It's been a desert, under several different prehistoric oceans, and most recently covered with glaciers. There aren't that many state geology articles, but Minnesota (as I often cite) has a spectacular Geology of Minnesota article. I favor the creation of a Geology of Michigan article. It's section on the main Michigan article is terrible, as is the section in the Geography of Michigan article. Many geological maps are in the public domain as works of the USGS, and those are readily available to be used in an article.

General tasks to be doneEdit


With very few exceptions, every article within this subproject should contain a corresponding infobox that can be used in the articles. Some articles may include more than one infobox if applicable. All infoboxes can at least include the following information: geographic location (such as body of water), coordinates, area, and municipality it is located in (state, county, township/city). Infoboxes should contain as much cited information as possible. Here are the following infoboxes with added notes as to what they should contain.

  • Islands: {{Infobox island}} – should include population (a rough estimate, census data, or "uninhabited")
  • Lakes: {{Infobox body of water}} – lake type, in/outflows, surface area, settlements (this is regularly available data for almost any lake) - also see WikiProject Lakes
  • Rivers: {{Infobox river}} – source/mouth (location and elevations), length, tributaries, bordering cities, basin/discharge (if available) - also see WikiProject Rivers
  • Protected areas: {{Infobox protected area}} – established, governing body –

| region = US-MI
| map = USA Michigan
| map_caption = Location within the state of Michigan
| map_width = 250
| lat_d = xx.xxxxx
| long_d = -xx.xxxxx
| area = {{convert|xxx|acre|ha}}

For an example, see Black Creek Nature Sanctuary
For protected areas on a national scale, substitute the map name with USA.

Fixing links and redlinksEdit

As noted in the list of rivers of Michigan article, several of the rivers linked actually go to a completely different river. This could primarily be because the link given is inaccurate. For example, Bell River goes to South Africa instead of the Bell River in Michigan. These links need to be touched up, but Bell River (Michigan) is redlinked since no article exists. While redlinks are generally okay on a moderate level (avoid overlinking to nonexistent articles), links to wrong or disambiguation articles are wholly unacceptable but exist everywhere. Red links will be bot removed if they exist for too long or if that redlink appears in only one article. That is why none of the islands in list of islands of Michigan are linked (unless they have an article) since there would be hundreds of redlinks jumbling up the article. I don't like redlinks, but I moreover dislike links that go to inappropriate articles. This is a major concern since a lot of the names of physical features in Michigan are shared by other regions (or even within different areas of Michigan, such as a dozen Gull Islands).

Use the metric system tooEdit

It is very upsetting when measurements are listed only as American measurements and do not include IS (metric) measurements as well. This shows a level of Americentricism and doesn't represent a worldwide view to accomodate the 94% of the world that doesn't use or understand our American units. I highly doubt someone from Nauru is going to be researching Algonac State Park, but it is quite possible that someone from Windsor will look up the Detroit River. I believe there are two reasons American editors fail to include metric measurements in their edits. It could be because they simply don't know that metric should be included, or they don't know how to convert American measurements to metric. Wikipedia provides a {{Convert}} template that can be used, but that can be confusing and hard to use accurately at times. It is sometimes simpler to do the calculations yourself and manually type in the measurements. There area a number of websites that will do the calculations for you with the click of a button. This website [1] is a great tool for automatic conversions, and a simple Google search, such as simply searching sq mi to sq km, will give you many different websites available.

When referring to geography, common American units for length include miles, yards, and feet (feet is also most commonly used for height in the case of elevations). Anything smaller than that rarely ever comes into play. American units for area include square mile, acres, or rarely, square feet. When dealing with length, only the measurement in the apprentices should be abbreviated. When referring to area, it should always be rendered as, for example, 15 mi² instead of spelled out as 15 square miles or 15 sq mi. The square ² can be found in the "Symbols" drop down tab when editing a page. For those unfamiliar with metric system, the standard units of metric measurement for length include kilometers (0.62 mi) and meters (3.28 ft). Anything smaller than that is rarely used for geography. Common metric units of measurement for area include square kilometers (0.37 mi²), hectares (2.47 acres), and square meters (10.76 ft²). Hectares (ha) are by far the most unfamiliar metric unit for Americans.

Always try to use appropriate reciprocal measurements for the two systems. For example, don't say 2.16 mi² (561 ha), because 561 hectares can more appropriately be written as 5.61 km². Also, don't say something like 34 acres (0.13 km²) or 34 acres (137,000 m²). It's probably a lot harder for a metric reader to figure out the area of 0.13 km² or 137,000 m². Reading 13 hectares (ha) is far more convenient. For ranges, make sure to include the range for both systems, for example, 0.5–2.5 miles (0.8–4.0 km). The amount of numbers used after the decimal is the discretion of the editor, but it should remain consistent throughout an article. As per standard English, numbers less than 10 should be spelled out if they are outside of an abbreviation or range, as in the following two unrelated sentences. The shoal is about 3–8 feet (0.9–2.4 m) beneath the surface and runs all the way to Grassy Island. He used his wealth to purchase three miles (4.8 km) of Trauxton's riverfront. Try to accommodate non-American readers (or those American readers that use metric) and make the conversions easy and useful in all articles.