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2014 Field Trips


GSM Tours and Fields Trips in 2014

The following field trips and tours were offered by the Geological Society of Minnesota in 2014:

Joanie Furlong organized a 3-hour tour of the Wildlife Science Center on Saturday, February 15. We viewed their captive wildlife including wolves, coyotes, coywolves, cougars, bobcats, lynx, and foxes. Winter was the perfect time to visit since the animals are most active and the wolves are in their breeding season. We got a pre-tour talk about the center, a guided outdoor tour, and afterwards a bonfire. Although this was not a geology field trip, since outdoor geology is hard to do in the winter, participants had a great look at the animals, and informative explanations of their behaviors. And we were treated to a special bonus as we left at dusk: the wolves serenaded us with a haunting chorus of howls.

Randy Strobel and Joanie Furlong planned and led 14 members on a week-long trip to western North Dakota and eastern Montana from August 10 through 16. We explored both the natural beauty of the area as well as much industrial geology. In the former category, we explored Makoshika State Park in Montana, both units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and Little Missouri National Grassland. We saw dinosaur skeletons, hundreds of bison, and prairie dog towns. In the latter category, we examined oil drilling, fracking, (this was in the midst of the Bakken Oil Field boom), natural gas processing, lignite mining, and lignite usage in the Antelope Valley Station power plant and for coal gasification at Great Plains Synfuels Plant. Field trip photos:

-          Day 0: Riparian Restoration; National Buffalo Museum; Little Missouri River;

-          Day 1: Makoshika State Park, MT;

-          Day 2: Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit;

-          Day 3: Bakken Oil Expr.; Dakota Dinosaur Mus.; Little Missouri Nat. Grassland;

-          Day 4: Little Knife Gas Plant; Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit;

-          Day 5: Bakken oil field; Killdeer Battlefield site;

-          Day 6: North American Coal Freedom Mine; Great Lakes Synfuels Plant; Antelope Valley power plant;

-          Day 7:  Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery; Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site; Lewis & Clark Interpretative Center at Fort Mandan;

See the Winter 2014 and Spring 2015 Newsletters for Maria DeLaundreau’s field trip descriptions.


Randy Strobel and Joanie Furlong arranged a Sunday midday field trip on October 5 to Dayton's Bluff in East Saint Paul. Around 11 AM, 24 GSM members and guests started in Indian Mounds Park at the top of Dayton's Bluff, where we observed the burial mounds, hiked in the municipal forest, took the "Tree Trek", and hiked along the river bluff. We then dropped down the bluff into the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, where we hiked along the bottom of the river bluff and observed Wakan Tipi, also known as Carver's Cave. Other features included the North Star Brewery Cave, the Sand Castles, and the restoration of what was an industrial brownfield. See the Winter 2014 Newsletter for Shannon Trego’s article.


GSM member Roger Benepe hosted an open house at his St. Paul home Sunday, August 3 to view his very extensive collection of fossils. Roger had his fossil collection spread out on the first and second floors for visitors to see. Among them were fish, dinosaur claws, mastodon and mammoth teeth, and casts of Sabretooth and Nanotyrannosaurus skulls. And of course lots of trilobites. For a report of this tour and Roger’s trilobite lecture, see the Winter 2014 Newsletter.


Dave Wilhelm arranged a tour of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory on December 10, with 11 GSM members participating. This was the first GSM tour of this facility in about a decade, but since then we schedule them every few months as member interest dictates. For Mary Kay Arthur’s report of this tour, see the Spring 2015 Newsletter