Regional Field Geology Trip to Wisconsin/UP 2009 (from alumni newsletter)

The week after graduation, Chris Van de Ven and Thom Wilch led 14 students on the Regional Field Geology class trip through Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Syllabus, Participant List).  The main focus of the Wisconsin portion of the trip was on glacial features as they traveled through Kettle Moraine State Forest, the Baraboo Syncline and Devil’s Lake region, the Two Creeks buried forest, and Door County.  We traveled through the Kettle Moraine State Forest examining textbook Late Wisconsin glacial landforms, including terminal and interlobate moraines, kettles, kames, eskers, and countless drumlins.  A highlight was finding abundant wood and a tree stump from the 11,800-year old Two Creeks buried forest in a Lake Michigan bluff.  The class took a break from Pleistocene glacial features to be guided through the Precambrian Baraboo Quartzite and the Devil’s Lake region by Dr. Gordon Medaris, emeritus professor of geology from the University of Wisconsin.  Lisa Colville (’06), currently a University of Wisconsin master’s student joined us for a few days.  After being well-fed and spending a night at Chris’s parents home at the very southern end of Door County, the class traveled to the U.P.  There the class stayed in the Precambrian, examining banded iron formations (BIFs), rocks and features related to the Penokean orogeny and Keweenawan lavas.  After a visit to Michigan Tech’s mineral museum and an underground tour of the Quincy Mine, Bill Rose of Michigan Tech led the class on a tour of spectacular Keweenaw Peninsula geology.  Some highlights from the U.P. portion of the trip the class saw spectacular approximately 2 billion-year old banded iron formations (BIFs), 1 billion-year old stromatolites, and spectacular views of bluffs along Lake Superior in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  It was cool and breezy most of the time, but only one rainy day and just a few snowflakes near Iron Mountain meant that we were quite lucky with the weather.

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