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Central Section Isle Royale Field Trip June 19-25, 2017

published Feb 16, 2017 11:26am
The Central Section of NAGT is sponsoring a field trip to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. This trip, run by the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI, will run from June 19-25, 2017 so participants can study the flood basalts and igneous minerals related to the Mid-Continent Rift, megacolumnar jointing greater than 2 m across, and inclined rock layers of the Lake Superior syncline as exposed both in the national park as well as in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The last day of the trip will be spent touring the Keweenaw Peninsula to examine the corresponding geology. Although this trip would be useful for anyone teaching igneous mineralogy and structural geology, it is also a great trip for those faculty who teach Historical Geology, Geology of National Parks, and courses about landscape development.

For those who have never been to Isle Royale National Park, this trip is a great way to learn more about it. The island itself was used for prehistoric copper mining, which later resulted in short-lived copper booms in the late-19th century. This was followed by the lake fishing industry and eventually a resort community popular among hay fever sufferers. It became a national park in 1940. It has the distinction of being one of the least-visited national parks in the system...but the most revisited due to its dramatic landscape. Participants on this trip will have the opportunity to explore the park with the help of the research vessel R.V. Agassiz, owned and operated by Michigan Tech. Using this, visitors will be able to access geological sites on a number of islands in the park, including Amygdaloid Island on the northern boundary of the park.

The cost of the trip for participants is $950. This includes:
  • Transportation to and from Isle Royale National Park via the ferry Ranger III out of Houghton, MI
  • Transportation around the park using Michigan Tech's research vessel Agassiz
  • Lodging in the park service's housekeeping cabins at Rock Harbor (June 20-24)
  • Most meals during the trip
  • Entrance to the Seaman Mineral Museum in Houghton, Michigan
  • Park fees
  • Transportation for the one-day excursion over the Keweenaw Peninsula (June 25)

Note : Overnight lodging on June 19 and June 24 is NOT included in the cost of the trip. Participants have the choice of booking into campus housing at the Hillside Dorms.

Due to space restrictions on the Agassiz, there is a limit of 17 people for this trip. Please see the website at for more information and to register. Contact Erika Vye at Michigan Tech for more details ( The registration deadline is March 15, 2017. We hope to see you there!

Beth Johnson
Department of Geography and Geology
University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley
NAGT Central Section 1st VP