Soils and Geology of Wisconsin Field Trip, May 2012

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

May 14, 2012

Pemene Falls

Loading up.
En echelon fractures
Close-up of the volcanic rocks showing feldspar spherulites.

Quiver Falls

A guidebook assured us that pillow lava was visible here. Maybe when the water is lower.
An impromptu stop to examine the metavolcanics.
Outcrop on US 141 with granitic dikes intruding mafic metavolcanics.

Piers Gorge

A short lunch stop
Planed-off phyllite on the Menominee River. The opposite shore is Wisconsin.
Phyllite outcrop
Potholes in the phyllite.
Wonder what the soil is?
A-a-a-a-nd it's a histosol!
Jack looks on approvingly from his pulpit.

Lake Ellen Kimberlite

In 2009, this area was being logged and we had to hike half a mile from the parking area. This time we got to drive right up to it.

Archean Gneiss

Deformed Proterozoic Rocks

Camp at Van Riper State Park, with the usual obligatory Frisbee games.

May 15, 2012

Champion Mine

The Champion Mine brings a new meaning to the term "road metal" since the whole ground sparkles with specular hematite.

Jasper Knob, Ishpeming

The folds are dramatic because they plunge at a very low angle into the surface. When seen down-plunge, they're insignificant crinkles.
View of Ishpeming

Archean Pillow Basalts

There are two perfectly respectable geological uses for the term "cleavage," but Clarissa's shirt opts for the biological usage.

No, not that usage, you creep. The cell division usage.
It's a mad sprint to get across the highway.

Presque Isle Park, Marquette

Precambrian Jacobsville Sandstone atop Archean ultramafic rocks. The contact is halfway up the cliff.
The edge of the cliff is fenced off and this is why.
Walking up the west side of the island.
Cross-bedding in the Jacobsville Sandstone.
Basal conglomerate.
Above: views of the dike in the Archean rocks. Below: Lake Nipissing shorelines.
Note the penny for scale. We estimated that this nugget would make 10 million pennies or about $100,000 worth, back when they still made pennies out of copper.
Iron ore dock


The quarry across from the Michigan Visitor Center displays the pinched out end of the Marquette Synclinorium. The Kona Dolomite hosts world-class stromatolites.
Another mad sprint across a busy highway.
The stromatolites are up a steep trail at the west end of the quarry.
Spaced cleavage
See, Clarissa, this is what geologists mean by "cleavage!"
You have to admire someone who starts out as a zygote and works her way up!

The T-shirt was a fund-raiser for TriBeta, an honor society in biology.
And another mad sprint back to the vehicles.
View of Presque Isle.

Laughing Whitefish Falls

This is the paved road.
The unpaved road was much improved from 2009 when we were here last and was actually better than the "good" road.

Au Train Spillway

During the retreat of the glaciers, ice blocked the eastern outlet of Lake Superior, causing water to spill through a low spot on the drainage divide (white arrows).

This lake is actually a reservoir, the Cleveland Cliffs Basin, named for the Cleveland Cliffs iron mining company.

Below: atop the dam.
The view of Au Train Falls is spoiled by a pipe that runs to a small hydroelectric plant.


After a warm day, the wind picked up. By the time we pulled in, it was screaming.

May 16, 2012

Chapel Rock

We got up to a frosty but much less windy sunrise.
Ongoing improvements to the parking area meant another half mile to the lake shore.
Chapel Falls
At one time Chapel Rock was connected to the bluffs by an arch, which collapsed sometime in the 1940's. One root remains, connecting the tree to the bluffs. One good storm could easily take that tree down.
Enormous trough cross-beds in the sandstones.
How current ripple marks form.
This is what Chapel Rock looked like in 2000, seen from a boat. It hasn't had any major alterations since then.
Sara had the most interesting footwear I've ever seen.
Jill and Kevin Fermanich
Recharging their solar cells.
This time we took the trail up the western side of the valley.

Soils Stop

Even from here it's an obvious spodosol.

Lake Superior Overlook

Log Slide, Grand Sable Dunes

A log hauler. Logs weere strapped to the underside of the axle.
A sledge. Logging was often easier in the winter when the ground was frozen.
A chute once extended down the dunes here, where logs were skidded to barges offshore.
A newspaper article at the overlook recounts a tragic freak accident where a large log slid down the chute, but instead of plunging into the lake, hit the surface and skipped. It struck two men on a barge, killing both instantly.
The overlook here gives a sweeping view of the Grand Sable Dunes. The dunes are perched, that is, accumulated on top of an elevated surface. "Sable" in French simply means "sand;" the name of the fur "sable" has a different origin.

So "Grand Sable" just means "large sand." I agree.

Grand Sable Dunes

A blowout or deflation basin. An "enud" (that's "dune" spelled backwards.)
Tree roots exposed by wind erosion.
A stabilized, vegetated blowout.

Grand Marais

The general store in Grand Marais has a little Zen garden of "omars." These are metapelites from the Omaralluk Formation in Hudson's Bay, the only known source. The spherical holes were made when concretions weathered out. The store owner said that, after agates, these were the most collected rocks on the shore. Curiously enough, there are apparently none on the shore at Munising.

Grand Sable Lake


Miners' Castle

Miners' Castle is the promontory at far left.
Miners Castle in 2000 when it really did look like a castle. The rear tower collapsed in 2006.
Note the large arch just left of the nearer point.
Rangers on patrol.
Carbonate cap rocks determine the topography at Pictured Rocks but are hard to see and all but impossible to look at close up. Here they form the blocky top ten meters or so of the cliff.

May 17, 2012

Breaking Camp

Munising Overlook

Outwash Terraces

Fire towers like this once dotted the wooded parts of the U.S. Now, with satellites, cell phones and aircraft, they're mostly gone and most of the rest are unmanned.
O horizon, check. E horizon, yes indeed. Dark upper B horizon with iron enrichment, yep. Spodosol.
Seen from the south (beyond the teraces) the last terrace has a raised lip.

Burnt Bluff Group

Kitchi-ti-Kipi (Big Spring)

Kitchi-ti-Kipi is part of the oddly named Palms Book State Park, which isn't really that odd a name. The land was sold for a token amount by the Palms-Book Land Company, founded by Charles Louis Palms and Frank Book. Dropping the hyphen doesn't help.
Captain Luczaj at the helm.

Below: Thar she blows!
Above: Instead of a glass bottom, the raft simply has an open well where you can look down.

Left and below: Sand boils up continually where spring water enters the pool. The configuration of the bottom is constantly changing.
  About to dock
View across the spring. The cable guides the raft.
Another group takes the raft out for a spin.

Stephenson Moraines

A roadside stop to look at the material of a drumlin.
It's a very sandy and rocky, angular till.
And it's an alfisol, sorta.
On the crest of a drumlin.

Below: panorama of the southeast side of the drumlin
View along the crest of the drumlin
Hey Kevin, any chance we can do some aridisols for a change? Something where we're not in the water?
View from the top of a drumlin.

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Created 21 May 2012,  Last Update 11 January 2020