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Field Trip: Mellon Intrusive Complex

Weekend Trip, Fall 2009

For a research project related to our Petrology course (GEOL 320), we collected rock samples from two outcrops outside of Mellen, Wis. We sent some to a lab for chemical analysis, and we looked at slides of others under a polarizing microscope. We then created posters which were presented at the 2010 celebration of student and staff/faculty collaborations poster session.


One of the two outcrops. Most people would drive past an outcrop like this without a second thought, but in fact this outcrop stands testament to the tectonic forces which, over one billion years ago, nearly ripped North America in two.


A student looks at the outcrop up close, and another poses with a rockhammer. Oh yes, we get to use rockhammers.


On the way back from Mellen, we stopped at a number of sites of geologic interest. This is shore of Lake Superior by the mouth of the Montreal river. Shale beds, which were initially laid horizontally, have been tilted nearly vertical. Shale is a rock which forms from mud, and ancient imprints of ripples, and even raindrops, have been preserved in this outcrop.