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Monday, September 22, 2008

Walk Like an Egyptian

All the school kids so sick of books
They like the punk and the metal band
When the buzzer rings (oh whey oh)
They're walking like an Egyptian. . . . .

- L. Sternberg

As you may have guessed by now, I'm back at school. I'm currently taking three courses, a pre-calculus math course, an intro. to archeology course, and one of my core courses for my major, mineralogy/petrology (min/pet for short). I'm also working part-time in the university's sandwich shop, about 20 hours per week. I'm much busier now than I was during the summer, and things seem to be going pretty well, so far.

One of the major advantages to taking UWEC's min/pet course is that we get to go on two major field trips during the semester. We also take shorter field trips about once every other week, depending upon the weather. For the last two weeks, we've been going to a nearby location called Lake Wissota. This entry is about those two trips.

Lake Wissota was formed when the power company built a dam across the Chippewa River near Chippewa Falls. The place we've been visiting is located downstream of the dam, and formerly was under water most of the time, depending on the river level. Like our last semester's visits to the Jim's Falls and Big Falls areas, the rocks exposed are very interesting and are not the usual strata found in the driftless area of Wisconsin (which is basically Cambrian-era sandstone). The most interesting feature of this Lake Wissota site is that it shows an intrusion of basaltic magma congruent with the continental rift event of about 1.1 billion years ago.

Anyways, the place is pretty cool, imo. :) Oh, and the title of this entry comes from the song we all heard on the radio while we were on our way to our little expedition. I hadn't heard it in more than a decade. :) Below are captioned photos taken at the Lake Wissota location. We had to hike in about a 1/2 mile from the van parking area. The weather on both visits was excellent, about 70 F. with mostly blue skies.

I know that I learned a lot, and had a good time; and I think my classmates felt the same. Let's hope that our next field trip(s) are as good as these were!

Most of our group having just unloaded at the parking area.
Lake Wissota. The power dam is an extension of the road on the right, out of view in the photo. Our group turned even further right than that, downstream of the dam.

After a while, we had to cross a creek.

The water-weathered rock formation that we passed over.

And the main site itself. Note the darker color of the rocks on the left compared to the right. On the left is the intrusive basaltic rocks, the right are the much older parent rocks.

Our group at the main formation.

Another view of the water-weathered basaltic flow.

Yet another view of the basaltic rock. Note the differences in weathering coloration.

Another photo of our group at the main site. We're studying rocks in Wisconsin! :)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff, just connecting with you for this weekend. Wondering when you plan to arrive to Hutchinson? We'll have sleeping space set up for you!

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