By Baird Helgeson

The prairie landscape in the background of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s political action committee website is a sight to behold.

The lush prairie stretches as far as the eye can see, dotted with wild-flowers that sparkle like diamonds against the green grass.

Jagged rays of sunlight slice through wispy clouds to create a feel that is almost majestic — even religious.

Wait, are those mountains in the distance? It might be heaven. It could be eastern Montana. But it doesn’t look like Minnesota.

Minnesota’s geography is known for many things: the moody waters of Lake Superior, leafy river valleys in the southeast, rugged forests in the Northland — but not mountains.

Some area geologists said the landscape doesn’t look like Minnesota, but they couldn’t be sure. The peaks rise too dramatically, and the view of natural prairie stretches too long, they said.

It’s a somewhat deceptive image, Minnesota nature photographer Craig Blacklock said. To his eye, the “mountains” could be wooded hills with a farmer’s field in the foreground. He didn’t rule out a Minnesota scene.

Harvey Thorleifson, director of the Minnesota Geological Survey, said the “mountains” could be dark clouds (perhaps not the imagery a potential candidate is looking for).

His best guess: Buffalo Ridge, in southwestern corner of Minnesota.
“But I don’t know,” he said.

Alex Conant, ­Pawlenty’s political spokesman, said that he didn’t immediately know where the photo was taken.

To judge for yourself, go here.


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