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Northern Ecology

What’s This Rock? The Geologic Story of the North Shore

Course Overview

The cobbled beaches and rocky cliffs of the North Shore can inspire some serious geological curiosity. "What’s this rock? Where did it come from? Why is it here?" Well, lace up some sturdy footwear and head into the field to be immersed in the fascinating geology of the northern part of Minnesota's North Shore with UMD emeritus geology professor Jim Miller. Using only your powers of observation, this first installment of the What's This Rock series will focus on “reading” the rocks from Grand Portage to Grand Marais that tell part of the billion year-old geological story of the Lake Superior area - a tale that can be best characterized as one of fire and ice. After an introductory presentation on Friday afternoon, the class will travel to the Canadian border on Saturday morning and visit classic North Shore exposures on the way back to Grand Marais. The day-long trip will visit roadcuts and shoreline exposures that illustrate the volcanic and glacial history of the northernmost part of Minnesota's North Shore. Sunday morning will start out with a hike up the Cascade River, followed by viewing roadcuts of the gemstone Thomsonite, and then rock-hounding on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais. After this excursion, you’ll never see the North Shore the same way again.

Required Tools

  • Bag lunch for Days 2 & 3
  • Appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear (sturdy!)
  • Waterbottle
  • Anything you need to be comfortable outdoors: sunscreen, bug nets, rain jacket, etc.
  • All participants will be given a high-visibility orange vest to wear during highway field stop.

Currently Scheduled Sessions

No sessions currently scheduled for this course.

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