The Bog that Ate Brainerd

Just wait until it gains a primitive sentience and ambulatory appendages. A giant bog has come adrift and is wandering about demolishing docks in a Minnesota lake. It’s so big it has trees growing on it.

We could also wait for The Blob solution: winter will be here soon and will lock it down in a cage of ice. Except that might be the final incentive it needs to break free of its aquatic limitations and rampage across the prairie. We’ll keep you alerted, but in case Pharyngula suddenly goes silent, it may be because I’m imbedded in a slimy matrix of muck and cattail roots and algae.


  1. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin is very excited to learn about this, as she suspects the “bog” is actually the moss, fungus, and other stuff growing as disguise and defense on any one of several usually-delicious wild hermit cheeses. Under the “bog” should be noodles of very tasty cheese(s?), possibly slightly nibbled by mice and fish before the cheese ate them.

    She suggests letting the bog crawl up onto the land, where it is much slower, and harvesting the cheese by simply flipping the “bog” over (think upside-down giant tortoise in the holds of sailing ships helplessly waving their legs about). Harvest at leisure (they keep a long time attached to the “bog”), but be sure to rinse throughly before eating. Goes well with sour IPAs.

  2. robro says

    Clearly they’re planning to use it for football fields or basketball courts. All will be well then. Hurrah for American ingenuity!

  3. steve1 says

    No fair. Minnesota gets a floating mass of green with cute trees. In Florida we get toxic algae that will take out your liver and enteric bacteria warnings.

  4. cartomancer says

    Maybe you should nominate it for President. It can’t be any worse than what you’ve got at the moment!

  5. Zeppelin says

    Thirty basketball courts? That’s more than 6% of the total useable floor space of the Empire State Building! Or the surface area of two hundred and twenty adult human lungs!

  6. says

    I had always thought that a bog was a poorly drained wetlands on actual land. This looks like a large mat of sphagnum and other mosses, thick enough to support shrubs, small trees, and other such plants?

  7. Zeppelin says

    @Gregory in Seattle:

    The way you usually get these floating bogs is that the water level in a regular old bog rises until the top layer of soil and roots and stuff starts to float and becomes mobile. At least that’s the process I’m familiar with, and they mention record high water levels in the video.

  8. chigau (違う) says

    That is the coolest, awsomest thing I have heard of in at least the most recent half of my life.

  9. Larry says

    Things in Minnesota must be going just totally awesome if a mass of roots and slime is their top story. All we get here in California are stories of huge swaths of the state being on fire and, no, nobody has estimated how many football fields that is equal to.

  10. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Here in the Seattle area, just over the Snohomish County line, we have Lake Ballinger*, which has an island of peat in the middle. It will build up enough to burn down to the water line periodically, but underneath it’s always smouldering. It’s been on fire for all of the 20th Century, anyway. At least it stays in one place.

    *Yes, it’s named after Taft’s Interior Secretary, whose goal in life was to sell off as much of America’s forests to the timber interests as he could before the Forest Service came into being.

  11. drken says

    Do any animals live on that thing? It’s got trees, so the foundation must be at least somewhat solid. Maybe somebody can put a house on it and use it as a crannog.

    Also, I hope those homeowners who lost docks have insurance that covers “act of bog”.

    I’ll see myself out.

  12. EigenSprocketUK says

    <Alien bog-creatures march towards a bunch of nervous humans>
    “Take us to your leader, puny humans”
    Humans: “Um, we, um, we … we don’t have one of those.”

  13. birgerjohansson says

    If this thing (“weltthier”?) floats into the sea, it might metamorphose into the Solaris ocean, of the eponymous novel.

  14. davidc1 says

    Why not put sails on it and let it sail round in circles ?.
    @8 I once saw a tv programme by David Bellamy ,well known British Scientist .
    He had one of those things that drill into the soil and he was using it on a patch of bog ,all of a sudden
    it drilled round through the bog and reached the water underneath .
    PS, he is one of the few scientists that does not believe in global warming ,other than that he is a
    decent chap

  15. charley says

    @14 What?! I live near the rather crappy Lake Ballinger and never knew the island has been smouldering for over 100 years.

  16. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Charley @ 19:

    Well, I may have exaggerated since I moved to the South End about 25 years ago and haven’t been keeping tabs on it. In the 60s, you could rent rowboats and paddle around on the lake and visit the island. It had built up to a respectable height at that time, but the ground was always warm to the touch, and this was the story I was told. It burned down to the water line after that, and there was talk of trying to put it out. Maybe they succeeded. If so, more power to them.

  17. says

    @TVRBoK #20 – My understanding is that it had been warm because of decomposition — the same way that a compost pile will generate internal heat. The only fire I can find mentioned started on July 29, 2009, which lasted until August 9. One factor in the long burning time was that the lake is extremely toxic, with a build-up of industrial waste, heavy metals, and toxic algae, that made fighting it dangerous. At that point, Montlake Terrace gave up trying to clean it and just closed it to the public.