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April 19, 2002

UW-RF Faculty, Student Attend Geology Conference

By Khrysten Darm
UW-RF News Bureau

Two UW-River Falls faculty members and a student attended the joint annual meeting of the North-Central and Southeastern Sections of the Geological Society of America, April 3-5, in Lexington, Kentucky.

Assistant Professor of geology Kerry Keen, Professor of geology Robert Baker, and Christopher Peters, a senior from River Falls majoring in geology, attended the event. The hosts for the meeting were geologists from the Kentucky Geological Survey, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Cincinnati. About 1,100 geoscientists were expected to attend.

Baker presented a project on a collaborative, educational program between UW-RF and Harold S. Vincent High School in Milwaukee, sponsored by the Private Industry Council of Wisconsin to expose promising high school students to Earth and Environmental Sciences.

During the summer of 2001, a group of eight students and two teachers from Vincent High School came to UW-RF to participate in a 10-day residential program consisting of laboratory and field-based study, classroom discussion, and evening and weekend cultural and educational programs. Baker hopes that in the second summer program in 2002, up to 15 students from grades 9 through 12 and several teachers will participate.

Keen presented a project on groundwater-stream interaction in Western Wisconsin. The South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River flows through the UW-RF campus, but the water quality of the river is less than optimum for trout due to city storm water runoff. The University, working with an engineering company, is evaluating options to restore wetlands by the stream for water-quality improvement, flood impacts, waterfowl habitat and educational purposes.

Keen incorporated his senior-level hydrogeology course students to begin a baseline study of groundwater conditions and the interactions between groundwater and the South Fork. All students participated in designing the project, installing wells and obtaining periodic water level measurements. Two students served as co-project managers, and along with other responsibilities, the students had to deliver their findings to Dale Braun, UW-RF campus planner.

Peters presented his project on the paleontology of the Rock Elm Disturbance in Pierce County. The Rock Elm Disturbance is a four-mile diameter semi-circular region that is a meteorite impact site. It is characterized by intensely fractured quartz grains, a rim faulted at high angles and a central basin fill grading into a gentle to steep central uplift.

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