2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 110-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


ROSE, William I. and VYE, Erika, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, raman@mtu.edu

The combined geologic history and human story of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale make the region an excellent candidate for a Global Geopark designation. As Earth scientists, we are convinced of its exceptional qualifications and for 5 years have been building additional support for our proposal from a broad spectrum of local public, most of whom lack a higher degree of Earth science literacy. A central part of our work has focused on imparting the exceptional geoheritage of the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale to teachers, students, politicians, businesspeople, tourists and the general public. Although many feel this intense geoheritage, life-long residents often have difficulties articulating it or have misconceptions about how our place was formed. We have addressed this through a wide variety of educational outreach efforts focused mainly on identifying, locating, interpreting, and grouping geosites.

Numerous lakeshore geosites offer wave-washed exposures that are both scenic and educational. Many are remote and accessible only by boat. Combined land and boat tours provide unique geoeducational platforms that make for efficient trips with minimal transit time losses if they are well crafted. We have developed one-day trips that focus on both the cultural story and main themes of Keweenaw Earth history: flood basalts/hot spots, redbed fluvial sandstones, thrust faults, continental glaciation and great lakes Earth science. These trips have been popular and attract a broad cross section of local residents and tourists. A previously unexplored economic resource, they demonstrate successes in geotourism that could stimulate new business ventures that encourage visitors to stay longer and participate in more outdoor activities. It also further develops a sense of place and Earth science literacy among local residents who become more versed in the geologic and cultural underpinnings of their community.


  • GSABaltGeotrip2015.pdf (24.8 MB)