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2017 Field Trips

GSM Tours and Fields Trips in 2017

The following field trips and tours were offered by the Geological Society of Minnesota in 2017:

On Saturday afternoon, January 28, Dave Wilhelm organized a 2+ hour tour of the Wildlife Science Center in Columbus, MN. About 40 GSM members and guests participated, including some young children. The temperature hovered around 25 degrees, so the animals were fairly active to maintain body heat. The tour started with an indoor presentation about WSC and its inhabitants, followed by an outdoor tour to observe the animals up close. We saw, heard (and smelled) gray & red wolves, coyotes, foxes, a mountain lion, bobcat, porcupine, and screech owl, and got detailed explanations of their behaviors and interactions (great photos here). And we were exhilarated by choruses of wolf howls a few times during our visit. The current address of WSC is 5463 W Broadway Ave, Columbus, MN, near Carlos Avery Wildlife Area. This is about 31 miles (35 minutes) north of downtown St. Paul. The Center will be moving in March, so our event was one of the last opportunities to tour the present site. Photos from this tour are here.

On Saturday, 11 Feb 2017 from 10 AM until 12 noon, Steve Erickson organized a tour of the American Engineering Testing Company at 550 Cleveland Avenue North in St. Paul. This informative tour was conducted by Dan Vruno and Dale Hunt of AET, and 18 GSM members participated.  AET specializes in petrography (study of detailed descriptions of rocks) and the making and testing concrete. Among other projects, AET has been involved with the new St. Croix River Bridge (subject of Dec. 5 GSM lecture) and the Green Line Light Rail. Look for Deborah Naffziger’s report in the May 2017 Newsletter. Photos from the tour are here. (Click the circled “i” at top right to see captions.)


The following field trips are planned by the Geological Society of Minnesota in 2017:

A tour of St. Anthony Falls Laboratory is scheduled for 4 PM on Wednesday, April 12. All openings for this trip have already been filled, but if you would like to be put on a waiting list, contact Dave Wilhelm at GSM plans to continue arranging one or more weekday tours to SAFL each semester as member interest dictates, so members will be notified of another possible opportunity during Fall, 2017.


There will be a total solar eclipse across the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017. Here are web sites that track its path:

To whet your appetite, in the February 2017 Newsletter, read Mark Ryan’s recollection of the total solar eclipse he experienced in Mexico in July, 1991. Dave Wilhelm is organizing a field trip whose primary purpose will be to view the 2017 eclipse, in the vicinity of Kearney, Nebraska. This is within easy car driving distance from Minnesota, with a Saturday, August 19 departure. Since we will head hundreds of miles southwest, we are including some geology and making a week of it. So far, around 45 persons are planning to view the eclipse on this trip, and around 30 are planning to remain with us for the geology portion starting Tuesday, August 22. If you are interested and have not yet responded, do so as soon as possible to Dave Wilhelm at, as accommodations are filling up rapidly and planning information for this trip is being sent only to members who have indicated interest.


The following field trips and tours are tentatively planned by the Geological Society of Minnesota for 2017. This page will be updated with dates and other specifics as each event is scheduled. GSM members will also receive e-mail notices. Some of these events are just ideas at this time; we do not expect that all will actually happen in 2017. If you have particular interest in one of these trips, consider helping with the planning and organizing; contact Dave Wilhelm at .

Randy Strobel will lead the following three separate field trips this spring and summer:

-          Walking trip of the Minneapolis riverfront at the Stone Arch Bridge, including a visit to Mill City Museum;

-          Walking trip of Minnehaha Falls and the nearby Mississippi River gorge, including a look at the new GSM marker soon be erected in the park; and

-          Biking trip on both sides of the Mississippi River Gorge from Lock & Dam # 1 to up to the Stone Arch Bridge and back.

These are areas that Randy described in his February 6 lecture to GSM. As dates and other details are determined, we will make them available by e-mail and web site.

A visit to Eagle Lake Observatory, hosted by the Minnesota Astronomical Society. The primary purpose of this visit would be to view Saturn as its rings are oriented to nearly their best viewing angle from Earth, but of course we would also observe other astronomical bodies. See photos from our 2016 visit to this observatory here.


A trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in September 2017, in conjunction with an astronomy trip being planned by Minnesota Astronomical Society.

A half-week trip to museums in Chicago, including the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry. We might also include a stop at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.