Field Trips
General Info
During Meeting

Field Trips

During the Meeting

422. The Wines and Terroir of Southeastern Minnesota.
Tues., 11 Oct. US$120 (L, R).
Leaders: James F.P. Cotter, Univ. of Minnesota; Morris Wanda Hanlon.

Trip Description
The trip will focus on cold region grapes and the geology of wine growing in Minnesota. The Upper Mississippi Valley AVA is the world's largest wine appellation with four-million hectares in four states. In Minnesota, the challenges of the climate are met with the development of new grapes and innovative growing practices. The field trip will visit vineyards in southeastern Minnesota and several outcrops that provide a representative overview of the terroir (the geology, geomorphology, and soils) of the region. Lunch will be served at the Whitewater Wines vineyards and will include a tour of their production facility.
Leader Info
Primary leader email:
Primary leader bio: Cotter received his Ph.D. from Lehigh Univ. and has been teaching at the Univ. of Minnesota–Morris since 1984. Cotter's field of expertise is glacial geology; he has published over 25 papers and 50 abstracts on the subject. His recent research has focused on comparisons of the (late Pleistocene) glacial deposits of Minnesota with the (late Paleozoic) glacial deposits of Brazil. His research on Lake Benson began in 1990. Over the past 20 years, Cotter has mentored over 130 funded undergraduate research projects, which have resulted in 120 student-authored or co-authored abstracts for professional and undergraduate meetings. In 1990, he was awarded the Univ. of Minnesota–Morse Alumni Award for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education; in 2000, Cotter was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring (PAESMEM Award).
Primary leader experience: Cotter has conducted research on the surficial geology of Minnesota since 1984. Beginning in 1990, Cotter and his students have been conducting research on the deposits, landforms, and history of Glacial Lake Benson.

423. A Hidden Geologic Treasure: A River, A Waterfall, A City: A Field Trip for Undergraduate and Graduate Students.
Tues., 11 Oct. US$70 (L). (sponsorships available)
Leaders: Stephanie Day, National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, University of Minnesota; Karen M. Campbell; Laura Triplett.

Trip Description
This trip explores the path of the retreating waterfall that carved a deep gorge where the Mississippi River passes through the Twin Cities. Finally stabilized near present-day downtown Minneapolis, the waterfall, now known as St. Anthony Falls, inspired early settlers to found a city. This trip will explore both the social and geologic history of the waterfall. We will begin downstream of the Mississippi–Minnesota River confluence in St. Paul. Moving upstream, we will discuss how the outburst floods, which incised the Minnesota River, caused a knickpoint to form on the Mississippi. We will end at the current location of St. Anthony Falls. Following the field trip, there will opportunities for participants to explore local restaurants, parks, attractions, and the Univ. of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. This is a casual tour that stops at several local parks and is designed for students and families.
Leader Info
Primary leader email:
Primary leader bio: Stephanie Day is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota who studies fluvial geomorphology. Her specific research focuses on bluff erosion in southern Minnesota on the Le Sueur River.
Primary leader experience: Stephanie Day has co-led a similar field trip. Her research has focused on a river in southern Minnesota which is responding to this incision event.

424. Subterranean Twin Cities.
Tues., 11 Oct. US$62 (R).
Cosponsors: Minnesota Ground Water Association; GSA Divisions: Environmental and Engineering Geology; Hydrogeology.
Leader: Greg Brick, Univ. of Minnesota.

Trip Description
This field trip is based on the award-winning book, Subterranean Twin Cities, published by the Univ. of Minnesota Press in 2009. Minneapolis and St Paul are underlain by the Middle Ordovician St. Peter Sandstone, which is honeycombed with a heterogeneous mix of underground spaces, natural and artificial. The book’s author will lead participants on a narrated bus tour describing locations of subterranean interest, showing how they relate to the local geology. There will be stops at the famous Carver’s Cave, a landmark since 1766 and a prime example of the action of groundwater piping in generating pseudokarst, as well as at Mill Ruins Park, with its miles of hydropower tunnels and the jumping-off place for hard-core exploration of the deep Minneapolis sewer-caves. Other places of note that will be discussed along the way are the largest sinkhole in the Metro, bat hibernacula, brewery caves, cheese caves, mushroom caves, nightclub caves, silica mines, utility labyrinths, the Trout Brook subterranean river, and Fountain Cave, where the city of St Paul was supposedly founded in 1838. From anecdote to high science, it’s all here, so you can maximize your time in the convenience of a bus with the person who wrote the book on the subject. Owing to liability concerns and time constraints, this will be largely a surface tour.
Leader Info
Primary leader email:
Primary leader bio: Greg Brick was employed as a hydrogeologist at environmental consulting firms and has taught geology at local colleges. His mapping of Twin Cities’ springs contributed to the Metro Model. He has published more than 100 articles about caves, karst, and springs, and was the recipient of the 2005 National Speleological Society Award in Cave History. His “Groundwater History” column has appeared in the Minnesota Ground Water Association Newsletter since 2004. His first book, Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State’s Subterranean Treasures, was published in 2004. His latest book, Subterranean Twin Cities, was published by the Univ. of Minnesota Press in 2009. His work has been featured in National Geographic Adventure magazine as well as on the History Channel.
Primary leader experience: Greg Brick is a native of the Twin Cities and has published numerous articles on the springs of the Twin Cities in the Minnesota Ground Water Association Newsletter. In 1993, he prepared the first map of Twin Cities springs based on his own fieldwork. His book Subterranean Twin Cities is the basis for summer field trips he has given through the Univ. of Minnesota College of Continuing Education. His website is

425. The Minneapolis Chain of Lakes by Bicycle: Glacial History, Human Modifications, and Paleolimnology of an Urban Natural Environment.
Tues., 11 Oct. US$67 (R).
Cosponsor: GSA Limnogeology Division.
Leaders: Marylee Murphy, Water Resources, Three Rivers Park District; Amy Myrbo; Valerie L. Stanley.

Trip Description
The land around the urban lakes of Minneapolis was designated as city park space in the early 20th century, when canals were dredged to join the lakes for boating and pedestrian paths were built around them. The Minneapolis Chain, comprised of Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet, is part of a larger pattern of lake chains across the Twin Cities metro area formed by ice blocks in subglacial tunnel valleys or paleochannels. Many of these lakes are deep for their size and are persistently stratified (and thus depositing laminated sediments) either naturally or under cultural eutrophication and road salt inputs; Brownie Lake has been meromictic since about 1915, and has extremely high dissolved Fe and Mn levels, along with magnetotactic bacteria populations, in its bottom waters. Join us for a leisurely ~15 mile flat ride along the wooded lakeshores, with stops to discuss their late-glacial formation; the history of human manipulation of their shapes, depths, and geochemistry; and their recent sedimentary records. Laminated sediment cores and associated data will be presented, and trip leaders will discuss the potential for using urban and other lakes in place-based, hands-on, interdisciplinary coursework for all ages of students. Bikes will be provided and helmets will be provided upon request. Rain or shine.
Leader Info
Primary leader email:
Primary leader bio: Water Resources Specialist, Three Rivers Park District; M.S., 2010, Dept of Geology and Geophysics, Univ. of Minnesota.
Primary leader experience: Murphy has experience both through his master's program and in his employment with urban and suburban water quality issues in Hennepin County and the surrounding area, as well as with the surficial, bedrock, and glacial geology and hydrogeology of the Twin Cities metro area. He currently monitors and models water quality to support management activities in waters associated with the Three Rivers Park District. He is an avid biker.

426. Kirk Bryan Field Trip: Holocene Landscape Evolution and Erosional Processes in the Le Sueur River, Central Minnesota.
Wed., 12 Oct. US$93 (L, R).
Cosponsor: GSA Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division.
Leaders: Karen Gran, Univ. of Minnesota–Duluth; Patrick Belmont; Carrie Jennings; Chad Wittkop.

Trip Description
The Minnesota River valley was carved by the draining of glacial Lake Agassiz ~11,500 radiocarbon years B.P. This incision spawned knick points that have been migrating upstream on tributaries, including the Le Sueur River. Participants will travel to the Le Sueur River to see terraces, bluffs, and ravines left by the migration of the knick point. We will discuss the well-constrained and beautifully illustrated process of landscape evolution in this otherwise low-gradient landscape and how the geologic history affects modern erosion and sediment loading to the Le Sueur and mainstem Minnesota Rivers. The trip will start in Minneapolis with an overview stop to discuss the Minnesota River Valley history, starting with the drainage of glacial Lake Agassiz through its southern outlet. Knick point initiation, timing, and propagation rates and styles will be covered. We will then proceed up the Minnesota River Valley to the Le Sueur River, with a stop en route to familiarize the participants with the glacial history and stratigraphy of the area. In the Le Sueur, stops will cover major landscape features associated with knick point incision, including high bluffs, terraces, and ravines. We will discuss bluff erosion processes, ravine evolution, influences of modern land use on bluff and ravine erosion, and monitoring efforts underway in the basin.
Leader Info
Primary leader email:
Primary leader bio: Karen Gran is an assistant professor in the Dept. of Geological Sciences at the Univ. of Minnesota–Duluth. Her area of expertise is fluvial geomorphology. She graduated from the Univ. of Washington with a Ph.D. in geology in 2005 and has a M.S. in geology from the Univ. of Minnesota. She spent 18 months working for the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics as a graduate program coordinator for the Stream Restoration Science and Engineering certificate program at the Univ. of Minnesota before starting her position at the Univ. of Minnesota–Duluth in 2007.
Primary leader experience: Karen Gran is currently the principal investigator on a research project focused on developing an integrated sediment budget in the Le Sueur River watershed. Her research group has spent the past four years working on measuring rates of erosion from bluffs, ravines, streambanks, and uplands over multiple temporal scales, including modern real-time measurements and decadal-scale measurements form air photos. They have also been working over longer time scales, looking at valley incision and landscape evolution following the incision of the Minnesota River valley 13,400 years ago, from analyses of airborne LiDAR data coupled with terrace dating and numerical modeling.

427. Springs and Waterfalls of the Twin Cities.
Wed., 12 Oct. — Canceled.