Almost 200 geologists are convening on the College of Maine at Presque Isle this weekend. However you gained’t discover them in a lecture corridor.
As a substitute, these attending the 114th annual New England Intercollegiate Geological Convention will probably be out exploring geologic treasures within the rocks and mountains of northern Maine and western New Brunswick, Canada.
That is the second time the convention has come to Presque Isle and the primary time it’s been hosted by the native campus. It isn’t your typical convention. As a substitute of a sequence of indoor shows, the three-day occasion includes faculty college, college students and geologists taking a sequence of discipline journeys. That’s why it’s one of the crucial well-liked geologic gatherings within the Northeast, in accordance with campus officers.
It’s additionally distinctive in that it’s worldwide, stated organizer Chunzeng Wang, professor of earth and environmental sciences on the Presque Isle college. He and co-organizer David Lentz of the College of New Brunswick have deliberate 12 discipline journeys: 9 in northern Maine and three throughout the border.
“To grasp the whole northern Appalachian Mountains, we should know the true geologic story of northern Maine,” Wang stated. “It seems that we’ve vital geological options different locations don’t have.”
Wang has studied the area’s geology since 2016. Amongst its options are volcanic remnants and mineral deposits relationship again 450 million years, he stated.
Northern Maine has two vital tectonic belts, one from Winterville to Munsungun, west of Masardis, and the opposite from Weeksboro in southern Aroostook to Lunksoos Lake in northern Penobscot County, Wang stated. Each was once volcanic areas, and their rocks present how the Appalachian mountains have been fashioned.
A few of The County’s formations and options aren’t discovered somewhere else, he stated.
Aroostook County has 4 of Maine’s 10 most important mineral deposits, in accordance with the Maine Geological Survey. Volcanic rocks produced well-known metallic mineral deposits at each Bald Mountain and Pickett Mountain in northern Penobscot County.
Each mountains have been thought of for mining operations, the most recent being a proposed mine at Pickett Mountain, close to Patten, by Canadian group Wolfden. The proposal has drawn protest from tribal communities, residents and state useful resource teams.
One other vital web site is the Aroostook Manganese District at Maple and Hovey mountains close to Bridgewater, which incorporates greater than 90 p.c of the nation’s manganese, Wang stated.
“The Maple-Hovey manganese deposit, positioned within the Quantity 9 Mountain space, is the most important manganese deposit in america, with essentially the most manganese reserve within the U.S.,” he stated.
Manganese, utilized in steelmaking and batteries, is among the nation’s 50 most crucial minerals for economic system and safety, in accordance with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Then there’s Pennington Mountain, positioned within the unorganized township of Sq. Lake. Surveys in 2021 found niobium, zirconium and 17 uncommon earth components, all of that are on the nation’s vital mineral record, in accordance with the Maine Geological Survey.
About 175 folks from the Northeast and Canada’s Maritime provinces have signed up for discipline journeys this weekend, Wang stated, together with to Pennington and Pickett mountains and the Maple-Hovey space.
He and Lentz will lead journeys every day. Different leaders embody David Putnam of the native campus, Robert Johnston of the Maine Geological Survey, Robert Marvinney of Readfield, Allan Ludman of Queens School in New York, Bryan Means of Toronto’s Canadian Manganese Firm and Wolfden Sources.
The convention may also honor 5 pioneers in northern Maine geology, and is devoted to Marvinney, former Maine state geologist, and the late Gary Boone of Presque Isle.
Marvinney, retired since 2021, was amongst those that found the Pennington Mountain deposits. He had been a graduate scholar beneath Boone and was Maine’s state geologist for 26 years. Marvinney helped lead each airborne and magnetic resonance imaging geologic mapping tasks in northern Maine, campus officers stated.
Boone, who died earlier this 12 months, mapped bedrock at Deboullie Mountain and within the Fish River Lake space within the Fifties, in accordance with College of Maine at Presque Isle officers. Whereas he taught geology at Syracuse College, he spent summers researching with the Maine Geological Survey. He was certainly one of three editors of the bedrock geologic map of Maine.
A Saturday banquet on campus will honor Boone, Marvinney and three different pioneering geologists: the late Brad Corridor, David Roy and Invoice Forbes of Washburn, a longtime geologist and native college professor.
At a memorial service for Forbes in 2012, Boone wrote about Forbes’ lifelong fascination with fossils. He apprenticed on the U.S. Pure Historical past Museum and found a brand new species of plant at Baxter State Park that was later named Psilophyton forbesii in his honor, in accordance with Boone.
Wang is with a bunch within the Munsungan area at this time, and also will go to the Winterville and Maple-Hovey areas.
He loves being immersed in The County’s pure areas and even has an automated e mail reply: “Out within the woods.”
And it’s good that he’s on the market. He and his college students have pioneered digital mapping, and amongst his discoveries is the St. Froid Lake formation, an space wealthy in plant fossils.
“The present geologic map within the space is about 90 p.c inaccurate, and the geology is extra attention-grabbing and likewise [more] sophisticated than thought,” he stated. “More often than not I really feel like I’m the pioneer geologist.”