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GEOS 350: Structural Geology & Tectonics Field Trip - Baraboo, WI

Structure students discussing their cross-sectional interpretations of the Baraboo Syncline on a bluff overlooking Devil's Lake.

May 6, 2017

On May 5-7, Professor Scott Wilkerson and some members of the GEOS 350: Structural Geology & Tectonics class participated on a field trip to Baraboo, WI to study regional and mesoscopic structural features present there.

Participants on the field trip visited various quarries, roadcuts, and natural outcrops containing exposures of the Precambrian-age Baraboo Quartzite in order to describe the regional Baraboo Syncline that forms the canoe-shaped ring of resistant hills surrounding the city of Baraboo.  Like the parable involving the blind men and the elephant, students made detailed observations regarding the orientation of the quartzite bedding and the small-scale structures (e.g., folds, faults, cleavage, boudins, etc.) present at various locales in order to develop an overall picture of the larger-scale structural feature.  Analysis of the small-scale structures, in particular, not only provided students with natural examples on which they might hone their interpretative/critical-thinking skills and apply concepts learned in the course over the semester, but also served as points of departure for conversations about rock deformation/strain, fold kinematics, and fluid flow in rocks.  

All in all, the weather was nice, the rocks were awesome, and the students came away with considerable insight into Precambrian tectonics in the Midwest!         

Structure students at Pewits Nest  

Structure students at Pewits Nest where Paleozoic rocks are exposed in the core of the Baraboo Syncline.