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Geologist to Speak at UWRF

FEB. 23, 2009—A scientist from the Minnesota Geological Society will discuss the Sudbury meteorite that impacted the Lake Superior region some 1.85 billion years ago on March 4 at 5 p.m. in Room 200, Agricultural Science building at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Mark Jirsa, a senior scientist and geologic mapper, will present “The Sudbury Meteorite Impact Layer in the Lake Superior Region.” The presentation, free and open to the public, will explore the second largest and fourth oldest of more than 170 scientifically verified impact events on Earth. He will compare and contrast the event to the smaller Chicxulub meteorite, which impacted what it now the Yucatan Peninsula about 65 million years ago. That meteorite, which struck Mexico, produced catastrophic effects including severe trauma to the Earth's dinosaur population.

Jirsa also will present ongoing investigation on geological evidence in the Lake Superior region that exists and points to a similar catastrophic event along the Gunflint Trail and Mesabi Iron Ranges that appears related to the Sudbury event. He will present the evidence gathered to date and speculate about the origin of the “ejecta blanket” and its related deposits.

Jirsa is with the Institute of Lake Superior Geology and the MGS, a research branch of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota. His work over more than 30 years utilizes the combination of outcrop, drill core and geophysical information to improve and convey the understanding of Minnesota's Precambrian terrains. He holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.S. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

The program is sponsored by the UWRF geology program in the plant and earth science department and the River Falls Geological Society. For more information, contact Kerry Keen, UWRF geology professor, at 715-425-3729.


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