Lusten, Minnesota

The U.S. Geological Survey with assistance from the Minnesota Geological Survey hosted the 53rd Annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology on May 8 – 13, 2007 at Lutsen Resort in Lutsen, Minnesota. The meeting consisted of two days of technical sessions with pre- and post-technical session field trips. Bill Cannon and Klaus Schulz helped with pre-meeting logistics. Gretchen Klasner provided valuable logistical assistance on-site at Lutsen Resort during the technical sessions. Connie Dicken and Bill Addison were media czars for the technical sessions, keeping all presentations on track with fewer glitches than normal. Pre-meeting registration was 114 students and professionals with an additional 69 on-site registrations, for a total of 183 registrants, an excellent turn-out.

Proceedings Volume 53 was published in two parts.  Part I – Program and Abstracts, edited by Laurel Woodruff, contains 49 published abstracts for 28 oral and 21 poster presentations; Part 2 – Field Trip Guidebook, edited by Jim Miller, contains descriptions of six field trips, three pre-meeting and three post-meeting.

The 53rd ILSG marked the first time in its long history that an ILSG meeting was held in this part of Minnesota. Field trips visited areas new to the ILSG, which resulted in an excellent subscription for all the trips. On Tuesday, May 8, Jim Miller and Eric Jerde led an intrepid group of 8 participants on a two-day field trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to examine the mafic igneous rocks of the Poplar Lake Intrusion. Based out of the Rockwood Lodge off the Gunflint Trail, the trip required canoeing across Poplar Lake and several lakes farther into the BWCAW, only two weeks after ice-out! Thanks to warm weather, the couple of “soggy mishaps” served only as fodder for the Homer Award (way to go Steve!). On Wednesday David Cooper, from the National Park Service, Bill Cannon, and Brian Phillips guided 18 participants on a trip through the Grand Portage National Monument, looking at both the geological and cultural history of the area. Another trip on Wednesday into southern Ontario to look at Midcontinent Rift-related intrusions north of the international border involved 31 participants and was lead by Mark Smyk and Pete Hollings. A misstep on the outcrop on that trip resulted in an injury to former Goldich Medal recipient and long-time ILSG stalwart Dick Ojakangas, who unfortunately had to miss the rest of the meeting as he returned to Duluth for treatment.

Throughout the meeting, the 60 people who had signed up for Mark Jirsa’s and Paul Weiblen’s Gunflint field trip were closely tracking the Ham Lake fire as it burned across the northern end of the Gunflint Trail. (The Poplar Lake Trip was far enough south of the fire to proceed, though the smoke plume was clearly visible). A final decision by the Forest Service closed the upper part of the Gunflint Trail on Friday and put the kibosh on any hope of running even a modified Gunflint Trail trip. Instead, Mark and Paul, with generous assistance from Bill Addison and Phil Fralick, quickly reconfigure the trip for a visit to the Thunder Bay area to see similar rocks as well as spectacular outcrops of Sudbury impact-related rocks. All of us involved appreciate the forbearance of seasoned and new ILSG attendees who were remarkably sanguine about the travails of the Gunflint Trail trip. Most of the people originally signed up for the Gunflint Trip stayed on for the substitute Thunder Bay trip, and we heard of no one being disappointed. One consolation from the cancellation is the Gunflint’s future potential as a field trip area for ILSG and enhanced exposure of rocks in burned areas, including newly discovered Sudbury ejecta layers found by Mark Jirsa while sneaking past the DO NOT CROSS signs on the Trail.

Also on Saturday, Terry Boerboom, John Green and Jim Miller led 16 participants on a field trip along the spectacular shoreline geology of the North Shore from Little Marais to Grand Marias to highlight some recent detailed mapping. A very timely and popular two-day trip lead by Dean Peterson and Paul Albers (of Duluth Metals) set off for Ely on Saturday with a group of 20 participants. The trip looked at the geology and Cu-Ni-PGE mineralization of the Nickel Lake macrodike and South Kawishiwi Intrusion of the Duluth Complex. Photographs of all the trips can be found in our photo gallery.

One hundred and fifty participants attended the banquet on Thursday night, even without the prospect of dessert. This year’s banquet speaker was Don Hunter, who is a Project Manager for the PolyMet Mining Corporation’s NorthMet copper-nickel project near Babbitt, MN. Mr. Hunter drew on his long international career in the mining industry for his talk on the ins-and-outs of mineral exploration around the globe. The Powerpoint presentation of the informal ‘Homer’ award suffered from severe homerism itself due to an uncooperative projector, but eventually Steve Kissin was honored for his canoeing acumen. As always, a highlight of the banquet was the presentation of the 2007 Goldich medal to Joe Mancuso, retired professor from Bowling Green University in Bowling Green, OH. The medal was presented to Joe by Ron Seavoy, who ended his citation with “Joe, you deserve this,” a sentiment echoed by all who know Joe and his long-term contributions to the geology of the Lake Superior region.

The student paper committee had its usual difficult job this year of selecting among 16 student oral and poster presentations. This year’s committee was Marcia Bjornerud from Lawrence University, Daniela Vallini of Woodside Energy, Ltd., and Graham Wilson from Magma Metals. In the end, two first place Best Student Paper awards ($200 each) were given to Sarah Nicholas (Macalester College) for her poster titled:  Investigations of sulfide minerals leached in the presence of alkaline solids, and Noah Planavsky (Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science) for his talk titled:  Rare earth element patterns in Steep Rock Carbonates. In recognition of the excellent student presentations, two additional students were chosen for Honorable Mention ($100 each) – Troy Boisjoli (St. Norbert College) and Larissa Stevens (Lakehead University). Eisenbrey Student Travel Grants were given to 15 students: Patrick Quigley and Michael Taylor – University of Minnesota, Duluth; Malcolm Alexander, Carissa Isaac, and Larissa Stevens – Lakehead University; Troy Boisjoli, Dan Costello and Renata Jasinevicius, – St. Norbert College; Clinton Forsha – Slippery Rock University; Amanda Hogan, Travis Jacob, Tommy Rodengen, and Stephanie Theriault – St. Thomas University; Jody Rymaszewski – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and Noah Planavsky – Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. All awards were presented at the conclusion of the technical sessions. Two of the presentations at the meeting were made by recipients of the 2006 ILSG Student Research Fund, Michael Taylor and Noah Planavsky.

The Institute’s Board of Directors met on May 8, 2007 and a brief overview of the meeting is provided below:
1.   Accepted the Report of the Chair for the 52nd ILSG from Ron Sage and minutes of last Board meeting from ILSG secretary, Pete Hollings.

  1. Accepted the 2006-2007 ILSG Financial Summary from ILSG treasurer, Mark Jirsa.
  2. Approved one co-chair from the 53rd meeting, Jim Miller, as on-going board member.
  3. Nominated Terry Boerboom of the Minnesota Geological Survey to replace Tom Hart on the Goldich Committee, a position that Terry later graciously accepted.
  4. Approved Marquette, Michigan as the location for the 2008 (54th annual) ILSG and co-chairs Ted Bornhorst and John Klasner.
  5. Discussed the continued scanning of the ILSG publications and posting of those electronic publications on the ILSG website

The 53rd ILSG meeting was a great success and we wish to thank all the people who contributed to that success. The staff of Lutsen Resort was professional and responsive to the needs of a large group. The setting on the shore of Lake Superior was stunning, and the weather was perfect (fire-weather, apparently).  The field trips this year had a large number of participants, and thanks are due to field trip leaders, van and bus drivers, and everyone else who stepped up when needed to drive, sort lunches, lay out core, or keep the crowds moving. As always, everyone who attended the 53rd ILSG was willing to help as necessary or adapt to any situation that developed. The meeting this year was well attended and we are heartened by the excellent student participation and attendance, a trend we hope continues.

Jim and I were very pleased with the outcomes of the 53rd ILSG and hope that others agree that the meeting was a big success. Chairing a meeting requires a lot of organization and planning with a significant time commitment, and we thank our respective organizations for their recognition of the importance of the ILSG. We also thank the ILSG community and members who make the experiences of the co-chairs almost fun, especially once the meeting is over and we encourage others to take on the task.

Laurel Woodruff and Jim Miller
Co-Chairs, 53rd Institute on Lake Superior Geology

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