Virtual meeting

With the global pandemic limiting travel and gathering, the ILSG Board of Directors decided to hold the 2021 meeting virtually. The meeting was Chaired by Mark Jirsa (Minnesota Geological Survey), Mark Smyk and Pete Hollings (Lakehead University) with support from the Lakehead University Technology Services Centre, particularly Blain Boyd and Shawn Hartviksen. The meeting consisted of four 3-hour Technical Sessions, one poster session, and an Awards Evening spread over two weeks (May 11th, 14th, 18th, 21st).  A total of 313 people registered for the meeting to allow organizers to forward the Zoom link.  There was no cost for registration, hence no income was generated. Attendance at individual sessions ranged from 130 to 150.

The Technical Sessions comprised 29 oral and seven poster presentations. Poster presenters gave 5-minute synopses prior to entertaining questions and discussion in their respective, virtual breakout rooms. Proceedings Volume 67 was published (digitally) as only Part 1 – Program and Abstracts, compiled and edited by Mark Jirsa (MGS). It contains published abstracts for 30 oral (one presentation was cancelled), and 7 poster presentations. No field trips were offered (and thus, no Part 2 Field Trip Guidebook was issued.) No corporate sponsorships were solicited. Student paper and travel awards were not given out at this meeting. Although the Board of Directors met virtually in 2020 and 2021, they did not meet during the meeting. It was agreed that the membership of the Board and of the Goldich Medal Committee would remain the same until 2022.

The Awards Evening was held on Friday, May 21st. It featured the awarding of the 2021 Goldich Medal to Allan (“Al”) MacTavish for his many decades as an exploration geologist, mapper, and proud ILSG supporter. Al’s citation was read by Mark Puumala of the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS). A presentation was provided by Michael Easton (OGS) to outline plans for the 68th ILSG meeting in Sudbury in 2022. This meeting will be Co-Chaired by Wouter Bleeker (Geological Survey of Canada). Peter Hinz provided details of a proposed field trip to Iceland in July-August of 2022. As part of ILSG’s Honouring the Pioneers of Lake Superior Geology, Jim Miller (MGS, Retired) gave a presentation on Newton Horace Winchell, the first Director of the Geological and Natural History Survey of Minnesota. Jim described some of Winchell’s remarkable professional life.  He was then joined by Sue Leaf, author of Minnesota’s Geologist, who entertained questions about Winchell’s life more broadly.

Feedback concerning the virtual meeting was overwhelmingly positive from those in attendance. Given the circumstances, the meeting proved to be very successful in providing an opportunity for researchers to present and discuss their work and for ILSG members to reconnect, albeit virtually. It is hoped that we will once again be able to meet in-person and partake in field trips once again in Sudbury in 2022.


Pete Hollings, Mark Smyk, and Mark Jirsa, Co-Chairs, 67th Institute on Lake Superior Geology

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