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Geology Field Trip: The Penokee Hills Story

June 22, 9:00 am4:00 pm

Lifelong Learning geology class.

The Penokee Range of northern Wisconsin has an amazing diversity of rocks that record remarkable stories about the geologic past. On this day trip we will explore the rocks across the range from ancient three-billion-year-old rocks exposed south of Mellen, Wisconsin, to the much younger sandstones exposed in the Ashland area. We will discuss many aspects of the geology, including the geologic history, hydrology, resources, and landforms of the area.

This trip will primarily focus on the ancient bedrock of the Penokees, but the more-recent glacial story will also be discussed. Most of the rocks are exposed in roadside outcrops, but some will be accessed on a short hike (approximately one mile on fairly level terrain) at Copper Falls State Park. Transportation and lunch included.

Meet Your Instructor
Tom Fitz has been studying the geology of northern Wisconsin and teaching geoscience at Northland College since 1999. His expertise is in minerals and rocks, geologic history, and the relationship between people and the Earth around them. He earned his BS degree from St. Lawrence University in New York State, his MS degree at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and his PhD from the University of Delaware, all in geology. He is from Massachusetts and came to Wisconsin to work at Northland College and to study the great rocks and explore the beautiful scenery of this region. Tom has worked on a wide variety of research topics with his students, from ancient bedrock to modern soils. He thoroughly enjoys teaching people about the Earth and has earned numerous teaching awards during his career.

  • Date: June 22, 2019
  • Duration: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Location: Depart and return from Northland College; Ashland, WI
  • Program: Geology, field experience
  • Meals: Lunch; Please specify dietary needs at registration.
  • Price: $85


Registration closes June 1 or when the session fills.


June 22
9:00 am–4:00 pm


Northland College
1411 Ellis Avenue
Ashland, WI