PERCEPTION OF THE MIDCONTINENT RIFT BY PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON IT: A VIEW OF PUBLIC EARTH SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE
Those remaining after the boom realize their lives have strong links to geology but generally cannot articulate them. They share serious misconceptions about earth science because, like all over America, geoeducation misses most people. The UP population, living in a region of geoheritage and geodiversity, is no better informed on geoissues. This disconnect leads to unproductive, uninformed and often polarized geodiscussions (Global warming, energy systems, geoengineering, sustainability, deep time, fracking, mining and the environment...). Misconceptions associated with recent Keweenaw Geoheritage work include deep time and active/inactive faults.
Decline of mining in the area, followed by some renewal signs in the past decade, highlights scientific problems that can be better understood by cleverly pursuing modern research (how the deep earth works, rifting processes, cosmic oddity of abundant native copper...). This theme session encompasses the rift theme and brings in a modern scientific perspective from afar. There is an excellent knowledge base to advance, built on the work of geologists and others, mostly from 1840-1965. UP residents want to understand their “georoots” and “geolinks”. Modern Keweenaw-focussed geoscience helps a broad public, but for them to understand, support and build opportunities from this advantage, we need better public geoeducation and communication about broader impacts: Geotourism, geodiversity and geoheritage.