Ely, Minnesota

The Precambrian Research Center (PRC) of the University of Minnesota Duluth hosted the 55th Annual Institute on Lake Superior Geology on May 5 – 10, 2009 at the Grand Ely Lodge in Ely, Minnesota – Gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  Despite this area being well known for its classic Precambrian geology, this was the first time that the ILSG has been held in Ely. We are please to report that this was one of the best attended meetings in the 55 year history of ILSG with a total of 234 registrants, including 45 students.

The organizing committee for the meeting was comprised of the three PRC directors: Jim Miller (meeting and field trip logistics, promotion, fundraising, and registration), George Hudak (technical program, student travel, and best paper awards), and Dean Peterson (field trip guidebook).   Julie Ann Heinz, an executive office administrator at the UMD Natural Resources Research Institute, provided valuable assistance with meeting registration and planning.  During the meeting, Julie Ann and Ginny Aldag handled on-site registration and other institute business.

The two-day technical session held at the Grand Ely Lodge on Thursday and Friday (5/7 and 5/8) included 21 talks and 24 posters presentations, including 4 oral and 14 poster presentations by students.  The meeting opened with a remembrance of Joe Mancuso who passed away in April of 2009.  Joe was a professor of economic geology at Bowling Green State University (OH) and a long-time ILSG member (attended the 1st meeting in 1955).  He received the Goldich medal in 2007.  This year’s Goldich medal recipient was L. Gordon Medaris of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Gordon was recognized for his long and productive career studying the Paleproterozoic of Wisconsin, in particular the Baraboo interval, and for his many contributions to the Institute.  Gordon was presented the medal at the annual banquet by Bob Dott, his renowned colleague at UW Madison.  The evening banquet talk was presented by Marvin Marshak, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and founder of the Soudan Underground Physic Laboratory.   Dr. Marshak gave a very humorous and informative talk on the search for subatomic particles entitled “The Deep Underground Sky”.

The meeting offered seven field trips that highlighted various aspects of the geology and ore deposits in the Ely area.  Most trips were filled to capacity with a cumulative total of 325 field trip attendees.  Pre-meeting field trips included a very popular two-day trip on the Cu-Ni Deposits of the Duluth Complex   led by Rich Patelke (Polymet Mining), Mark Severson (Natural Resources Research Institute, UMD), Dean Peterson (Duluth Metals Ltd.), Tim Jefferson (Teck American), and Ernie Lehmann (Franconia Minerals) and a one-day trip on Glacial Geology of the Vermilion Moraine led by Phil Larson (Cliffs Natural Resources) and Howard Mooers (Department of Geological Sciences, UMD).   On Friday afternoon following the completion of the technical session, two field trips were offered.  One gave participants an underground tour of  the Soudan Iron Mine and Physics Lab  led by Dean Peterson (Duluth Metals Ltd.), James Pointer – (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation) andMarvin Marshak (Department of Physics, University of Minnesota). The other had Mark Jirsa (Minnesota Geological Survey) lead a Pioneer Mine Canoe Excursion  around the perimeter of Miners Lake, just across the road from the meeting site in Ely. 

Several post meeting trips completed the meeting.  A one-day trip on the Geology and Metamorphism of the Eastern Mesabi Range  led by Dick Ojakangas (Department of Geological Sciences, UMD), Mark Severson (Natural Resources Research Institute, UMD), Doug Halverson, Jeff Bird, Tom Campbell, Jarred Lubben, and Peter Jongewaard  (Cliffs Natural Resources), andWilliam Everett (Mesabi Nugget).  A two-day trip on the Architecture of an Archean Greenstone Belt was led by Dean Peterson (Duluth Metals Ltd.), Mark Jirsa (Minnesota Geological Survey), and George Hudak (Department of Geology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh). Jim Miller (Dept. of Geological Sciences, UMD) led a two-day canoe excursion into the BWCA on the Geology of the Lake One Troctolite.   Photos of all the trips can be found in our photo gallery.

The student paper committee comprised of Tom Fitz (Northland College), John Gartner (Prime Meridian Resources), and Dorothy Campbell (Ontario Geological Survey) once again had a difficult job of selecting among the 18 student oral and poster presentations. The committee awarded the Best Student Paper awards to Benedek Gal, Natalie Pietrzak, Ryan Dayton, James Hiller, Andrew Jansen, Kyle Makovsky and Dan Costello.   

More than half of the students received financial aid to defray travel and registration expenses.  A total of $5400 was distributed to 23 students from 13 different schools.  This generous aid was provided by funds contributed by meeting registrants and several corporations and organizations.   Specifically, meeting registrations surcharges generated $2000 and the ILSG Eisenbray Fund contributed $1000.   The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG-Minnesota Chapter) contributed $1000, the Minnesota Mineral Resource Education Foundation (affiliated with Mining Minnesota) contributed $500, Northland Securities gave $500, and the Mesabi Range Geological Society contributed $500 (to UMD students).    In addition to these contributions for student support, the meeting benefitted greatly by a $2000 contribution from Duluth Metals Ltd., which allowed the guidebook to be printed in color.  Also, Barr Engineering contributed $1000 that went to sponsor the welcoming reception on Wednesday evening.   See the 55th Program and Abstract volume for more details on student funding.

The Institute’s Board of Directors met on May 7, 2009. The meeting was called to order by Chair George Hudak. The meeting was attended by the three co-chairs of the Ely meeting (Miller, Hudak, and Peterson), Treasurer Mark Jirsa, Secretary Peter Hollings, and Board Members Ted Bornhorst (2008 chair) and Ann Wilson (2006 chair).  Secretary Hollings took the minutes of the Board meeting that are as follows:

  1. Report of the Chairs (Bornhorst and Klasner) for the 54th ILSG, Marquette, Michigan was received and accepted.
  2. Received, discussed, and accepted 2008-2009 ILSG Financial Summary (Jirsa).
  3. Received, discussed, and accepted 2008-2009 ILSG Secretary’s report (Hollings)
  4. Appointed meeting chair (George Hudak) as on-going ILSG Board Member
  5. Discussed application process for ILSG Student Research Awards. Hollings to prepare a two-page form and circulate to the board
  6. International Fall, MN was approved as the site for the  2010 (56th Annual) meeting location with Mark Jirsa (MGS) and Pete Hollings (Lakehead) serving as co-chairs, and Terry Boerboom (MGS) and Mark Smyk (OGS) serving on the organizing committee.
  7. Approved replacement of Richard Ojakangas as “academic member” on Goldich Committee (end of term 2009) with Mary Louise Hill (Lakehead U).
  8. Discussed moving toward advertising of the annual meetings exclusively by email and website.  Miller gave a positive report on how this approach worked for the Ely meeting.  Miller reported compiling an email list of over 750 contacts.
  9. It was agreed that Jirsa would order 10 new Goldich medals. It was also agreed that Hollings would prepare a letter that could be sent to new Goldich committee members explaining the process. This letter will be distributed to the Board prior to being sent out
  10. Hudak suggested that a notice age be added to the web site to be used to post job and graduate opportunities. It was agreed that the proceedings of the institute would now be posted immediately after each meeting.  The hosting of the ILSG web site was discussed, Miller to investigate the possibility of hosting the site through the Precambrian Research Center.
  11. The board thanked Mudrey and Hollings for their work on digitizing the volumes. These have proved a useful resource for researchers

The co-chairs would like to thank the participants, especially the students, for their enthusiasm, the field trip leaders for their hard work, the presenters for their informative talks and posters, Marvin Marshak for his classic banquet talk, the session chairs and subcommittee members for their important contributions, and the meeting sponsors for their generosity.   A big thank you to Julie Ann Heinz for her cheerfulness and organization in handling the registrations.  Thanks also to Sue Marturano, Sue Salveson, and Denise Endicott for handling the budgeting.  Thanks to our wives, Ginny Aldag, Rachel Pastoor and Deb Rausch, for their support and understanding. Thanks to Barb Lyke, Tara Akeman, and the entire staff of the Grand Ely Lodge for being accommodating, flexible and very professional. 

Although there were some things that we could have improved upon (e.g. a projector that showed true colors), we are pleased with how the meeting went.  We are particularly gratified by the near record attendance, the popularity of the field trips, and the generally favorable comments we receive about the technical meeting.  It made the planning, organizing, and oversight of the meeting worth the effort.    You all should try it sometime…really.  See you all in International Falls.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Miller, George Hudak, and Dean Peterson
Co-Chairs, 55th Institute on Lake Superior Geology

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