RELIEF AND PARENT MATERIAL
Eau Claire County did not experience continental glaciation during the late-Pleistocene. As such, the landscape is dominated by deeply dissected, concave upward stream valleys and sandstone bedrock controlled ridges (pediments). The northern half of the Schofield parcel, referred to here as the Lost-Highway site is in the headwaters of Nine Mile Creek, a tributary of the Eau Claire River. In turn, the Eau Claire River flows into the Chippewa, an important tributary to the upper Mississippi River.
At the study site, soil texture and mineralogy strongly reflect the sandstone parent material. In addition, finer soil textures result from inclusions of loess-derived sediments eroded from further uphill. A 1-3 m veneer of silty, windblown loess was deposited on the bedrock controlled upland during the Terminal Late-Pleistocene. Though no glacial till was observed in this study, rock piles built by Euro-American farmers on the site include some glacially-transported rocks (erratics).