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Northern Ecology

North Shore Geology Online Course

Course Overview

Spend three evenings exploring the rich geologic history of the North Shore through presentations and Q&A. Registered students will receive recordings of each week's presentation.

The weeks will feature the following topics:
Week 1: Plate Tectonics - Fundamental Paradigm of the Dynamic Earth
We'll gain an entry level understanding of and evidence for the theory of plate tectonics.  This "new" and well accepted theory forms the basis for our understanding of Earth processes over most of geologic time.  It explains the origin and distribution of continents, oceans, mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes over the Earth's surface.  It is commonly said that plate tectonics is to geology, what genetics is to biology - the grand unifying theory of the Earth.

Week 2: The 3 Billion Year Geologic History of the Gunflint Trail Area
The rocks exposed along the Gunflint Trail record a remarkable and dramatic history of four major geologic events that spanned about 3 billion years of geologic time.  These include the emergence of volcanic islands in a primitive ocean, the deposition of great expanses of iron and silica minerals in shallow marine waters, the intrusions of massive volumes of molten magma into the crust related to continental separation, and the sculpting of the landscape by thick sheet of glacial ice.

Week 3: Fire and Ice - the Geologic Story of Lake Superior
Two major geologic chapters of the Earth's history are evident along Minnesota's north shore.  The rock exposures tell the tale of massive and prolonged eruptions of molten magma created deep in the Earth during a period of continental separation about 1 billion years ago.   The deep and expansive Lake Superior basin and the surface cover of unconsolidated sand and gravel around it tell the story of repeated migrations of massive sheets of glacial ice sculpting and excavating the landscape over the past 2 million years.  The last ice sheet left only 12,000 years ago; geologically yesterday.

Currently Scheduled Sessions

No sessions currently scheduled for this course.

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