Paper No. 22
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


MAHONEY, J. Brian1, PIGNOTTA, Geoffrey2, IHINGER, Phillip D.3, WITTKOP, Chad4, TAYLOR, Samantha S.5 and LEISTIKOW, April2, (1)Department. of Geology, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI 54702, (2)Department of Geology, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54702, (3)Department of Geology, University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54702, (4)Chemistry and Geology, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN 56001, (5)Department of Geology, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI 54701,

Geologic mapping is a fundamental skill crucial to an undergraduate’s success in the geological sciences. Development of adequate mapping skills requires training beyond standard field camp preparation. The Department of Geology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, in cooperation with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, has utilized funding from the USGS’s EDMAP program to support advanced undergraduate training in field mapping techniques. Students and faculty from the Department, including twenty-two (22) undergraduates, three (3) professors, and a professor from Mankato State University, have produced (completed or in final stages) ten (10) USGS 1:24,000 quadrangles in southwest Montana since 2004. The program couples geologic field mapping with petrographic, geochemical and geochronologic analyses to provide a comprehensive assessment of each area.

Geologic mapping is conducted by a team consisting of an advanced undergraduate student (top tier field camp student) and a less-experienced field assistant. The senior undergraduate is the lead on the project, and works closely with the mentoring professors to plan and coordinate traverses, identify and describe geologic units, construct cross-sections and develop working hypotheses. At least one professor and a second field assistant form a second, collaborative mapping team. Traverses are planned and recorded on topographic maps and aerial photographs; geologic data is compiled on a master mylar overlay. Structural data and lithologic, geochemical and geochronologic sample data are recorded in a master database. Data analysis is a continual process, allowing the students to develop a three-dimensional geologic understanding in the field.

Geochemical and geochronologic analyses are spearheaded by the lead student. Geologic maps are digitized in ArcMap, normally by a different student with a strong interest in GIS, in collaboration with the lead student and professors. The final product includes a colored geologic map, cross-section(s), and ancillary geochemical and geochronologic data, which is commonly presented at a Geological Society of America meeting prior to submittal to the MBMG. Each of the nineteen (19) students who have graduated after the mapping program are employed full-time in the geological sciences.