Amberly Ridge Ruins

Among the valuable educational programs supported by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena is an underwater robotics competition. The competition allows students to engage in underwater missions using underwater remote operated vehicles. The missions are based on real world scenarios like exploring sunken ships. It was this kind of vehicle that was used to help map and photograph the constructions, deep underwater, on the Alpena-Amberly ridge.

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There, on the floor of Lake Huron, is the ancient land bridge that stretched from Alpena to Ontario, 9,000 years ago. The Alpena-Amberly land bridge was a migration route for caribou. Human hunters constructed stone structures designed to channel the animals into killing zones. The structures are still there, deep underwater. When these structures were built, the environment was far different than today. The land bridge was above the water. The immense glacier that was carving out the Great Lakes was receding north. At that time the glacier was only about 100 miles north, and was visible, as it was still nearly a mile thick. Remarkably, the constructions bear a resemblance to those built and in use today in arctic regions, where caribou still follow the annual migration patterns. Without preservation and exploration in clean clear waters, these artifacts might have been lost forever.

Dozens of structures have been found deep underwater. From simple one-man blinds to complex killing zones, the constructions are similar those for hunting Caribou found in the Arctic.