Soils and Geology of Wisconsin Field Trip, September 2005

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Eau Claire Dells County Park

A little early fall color at Eau Claire Dells County Park
Overview of the geology
Eau Claire Dells

Biron Dam

Biron Dam offered a view of some of the oldest rocks in Wisconsin

Roche a Cri

Roche a Cri is a dramatic bluff north of Friensdship
Looking at the sandstone, Indian petroglyphs, and more modern inscriptions.
At the north end of the bluff is a staircase of 303 steps.
It is a long way up
Down is a lot easier.
The view from the top includes most of central Wisconsin.

Devil's Lake

Saturday was spent in the Baraboo area.
View of Devils Lake
Devil's Doorway
The Potholes Trail offers a view of enigmatic potholes carved by running water, but there is no stream here now. Meltwater from glacial ice atop the bluffs probably carved them.
The Potholes Trail is about the steepest trail at Devil's Lake.
Making tracks for the van.

Parfrey's Glen

Parfrey's Glen is a dramatic slot canyon
Here we see conglomerate eroded off the bluffs and deposited in the Cambrian Period.
To protect the area, much of the route has a boardwalk.

Ableman's Gorge (Rock Springs)

Abelman's Gorge at Rock Springs is one of the best known geologic localities in the world. Once an abandoned quarry with iffy legal accessibility, it is now a state natural area.
A huge vertical sheet of ripple marks.
At Van Hise Rock

Natural Bridge State Park

There's a fungus amungus.
The arch formed through collapse of the roof of a natural overhang.
There probably was once an arch where the group is standing, but it collapsed long ago.

Skillet Creek

Baraboo quartzite at Skillet Creek. Excellent cross-bedding is visible here.


The stop here was to view the former Fox-Wisconsin canal, but low water provided an opportunity to study river bedforms. The weather was every bit as unfriendly as it looked.
Current ripples
A small depositional delta front
Cross bedded sand

Horicon Marsh and Mauthe Lake

Between being the final day and lousy weather, interest flagged. A brief stop at Horicon Marsh.
Mauthe Lake required an hour wait for a deluge to stop before the weather improved to awful. Kevin Fermanich discusses a histosol.

Below: vegetated kettle pond.

Parnell Esker

Left: far traveled erratics are used to block traffic.

Below: the trail along the esker reveals the narrow, sinuous ridge.

Crest of the esker
Glacio-fluvial sediments in a pit near, well, nowhere.

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Created 26 October 2005, Last Update 15 January 2020