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North House Folk School
North House Folk School

Geology Up the Trail: Exploring the Ancient History of the Gunflint Trail

Head up the trail and experience the unique and ancient geology of the Gunflint area. We are pleased to partner with Gunflint Lodge to offer students an opportunity to immerse in the rich history of this special area using one of Minnesota's premier wilderness resorts as a home base for exploration. The Gunflint Trail traverses an ancient sequence of rocks that tell an incredible and awesome story of how North America was assembled. We will start our Saturday exploration at the "end of the trail" where 2.5 billion-year-old granites that formed deep in the earth are now exposed. We will then progress into 1.8 billion-year-old iron formation that was deposited in an ancient seabed and later ripped asunder by meteor impact-generated tsunamis and earthquakes. Finally, we will explore intrusions of magma generated 1.1 billion years ago when North America was attempting to split apart. Along the route, we will also observe the effects that mile-thick glaciers had on reshaping the landscape as they repeatedly crept out of Canada over the past 2 million years. On Sunday morning, we will take a pontoon boat to explore various geological and historical features on Gunflint Lake.

A variety of lodging options are available to students at special rates at Gunflint Lodge, though students are welcome to stay wherever they choose during the class. The schedule includes two evening gatherings at Gunflint Lodge as well. Students are responsible for their own lodging reservations and do not have to stay at Gunflint Lodge to participate in this course. Lodging reservations at Gunflint need to be made by calling 1-800-328-3325, and referencing this class, since these room prices are significantly discounted for North House students. Registrations for the North House course can be made online (see below) or by calling North House at 218-387-9762.



Fri, Oct 07, 2016 - Sun, Oct 09, 2016 Course Full - Please call for wait list
(Early bird tuition deadline: 08/26/16)

Course Details

Length in days:
2 1/2

Day 1: 7pm-9pm, Day 2: 8am-9pm, Day 3: 8am-1pm

$200.00 per student (Regular rate)
$190.00 per student (Early-bird rate)


Beginner to Advanced

Making it happen:
  • When should I enroll?
  • Do you take last minute registrations?
  • When will new course dates be posted?

You will need the following tools for this class:

  1. water bottles
  2. sturdy-soled shoes
  3. rain gear and other suitable outdoor clothing
  4. lunch for Day 2, can be ordered through Gunflint Lodge
Once registered, students will receive a confirmation packet in the mail that may offer additional optional tool recommendations and suggested reading.
Jim Miller Jim Miller

Jim Miller (Ph.D., geology, University of Minnesota) is an Associate Professor of Geology and Director of the Precambrian Research Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Formerly, he was a Senior Geologist with the Minnesota Geological Survey (1983-2008). His research specialty is the geology and mineral deposits of northeastern Minnesota. He has conducted geological research and led field trips for geologists and non-geologists for over 30 years.

More about Jim Miller
Geology Up the Trail: Exploring the Ancient History of the Gunflint Trail

Geology Up the Trail: Exploring the Ancient History of the Gunflint Trail

Geology Up the Trail: Exploring the Ancient History of the Gunflint Trail