Kitchi-ti-kipi (Big Spring), Michigan

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Kitchi-ti-kipi is the largest spring in Michigan. No two sources spell it alike, it seems. In logging days it had become clogged with debris, but has recovered to pristine clarity.
The sunken forest around the spring shows it is the central part of a much larger sinkhole.
A hand-propelled ferry gives visitors a view of the deep spring.
View of the ferry landing.
Child galley slaves. Does Amnesty International know about this?
A display on the raft explains that the water enters through cracks and openings in the lower Silurian dolomites.

Below: overflow from the spring exits via a short and shallow stream to Indian Lake.

Brown trout a meter (3 feet) long live in the spring. There used to be larger ones until Michigan sports fishermen persuaded the state to remove a barrier across the outlet to the spring. When I was here, a couple of visitors were lamenting this "meddling," blissfully unaware that:
  1. Fish barriers aren't natural and
  2. Brown trout don't belong in North America
Most of the 14 meter (45 foot) depth of the sinkhole is lined with Pleistocene deposits. Small details are visible on the bottom even in the deepest parts of the spring.
Left and below: bedrock ledges are best seen around deep springs where water flow keeps sediment from settling.
Left and below: The most vigorous springs kick up sand boils.
Left: bedrock ledge on the bottom.
Left: trout congregate at a spring that has created a small cave in the side of the basin.

Below: what appear to be small concretions dot the bottom in places.

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Created 18 August 2007, Last Update 06 June 2020