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Karl Wirth

Associate Professor
Geology Department
Macalester College
St. Paul, Minnesota
USA 55105

e-mail: wirth@macalester.edu

voice: (651) 696-6449
fax: (651) 696-6122

Karl Wirth
Links
Intro
Courses
Research
Publications
Photos


Intro

I joined Macalester College in 1991 as an igneous petrologist and geochemist to teach courses in Mineralogy, Petrology, and Planetary Geology. I also teach introductory courses and lead international field trips (Hawaii, Greenland, Iceland, Galapagos, Costa Rica)with other members in the department. During summers I co-teach the Geologic Field Methods course with Beloit College. My research interests are concerned primarily with the origins of igneous rocks and the chemical evolution of the Earth's crust and upper mantle. Recent projects with students include: the origin of granophyre complexes in the Midcontinent Rift, basaltic volcanism in the northern Galapagos Islands, the origin of greenstone belts in the Tanzanian Craton, and Cenozoic Magmatism in the Bering Sea region. Summer projects with students have been geneously supported by the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium. In 2000 and 2001 I served as resident director of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Tanzania Program at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Click here to download a copy of my resume in pdf format.


Courses and Teaching

  1. Exploring the Solar System (Geol-102)
  2. Dynamic Earth and Global Change (Geol-150)
  3. Mineralogy (Geol-250)
  4. Petrology (Geol-302)
  5. Biology and Geology of the Galápagos Islands

Course pages now moved to Moodle

Link to Curricular Materials that I am developing.


Current Research Projects

  1. Cenozoic Magmatism and Mantle Evolution in Interior Alaska and the Bering Sea Region
  2. Composition of Midcontinent Rift Lavas and Intrusions
  3. Mafic Dikes of the Canadian Shield
  4. Northern Islands of the Galapagos Archipelago
  5. Sedimentology of Tilefish Mounds

Recent Abstracts

Wirth, K.R., and Perkins, D., 2007, Learning About Thinking and Thinking About Learning: Innovations in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at the Liberal Arts Colleges, St. Olaf and Carleton College, Minnesota, February 16-18, 2007.

Wirth, K.R., Vervoort, J., Craddock, J.P., Davidson, C., Finley-Blasi, L. , Kerber, L. , Lundquist, R. , Vorhies, S. , and Walker, E., 2006, Source Rock Ages and Patterns of Sedimentation in the Lake Superior Region: Results of Preliminary U-Pb Detrital Zircon Studies: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Abstracts with Programs, v. 38 , no. 7, p. 505.

Nicholas, S.L. , Wirth, K.R., Lapakko, K.A., and Engstrom, J., 2006, SEM Investigations of Sulfide Oxidation in Leaching Experiments of Mine-Rock Wastes: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Abstracts with Programs, v. 38, no. 7, p. 432.

Wirth, Karl R., 2005, Learning to learn: why not be explicit in the classroom?:   Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Salt Lake City, Utah, Abstracts with Programs, v. 37, no. 7, p. 549.

Wirth, Karl R., Perkins, Dexter, and Nuhfer, Ed, 2005, Knowledge surveys: an ideal tool for assessing learning and for evaluating instructional practices and curricula: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Salt Lake City, Utah, Abstracts with Programs, v. 37, no. 7, p. 119.

Wirth, Karl R., 2004, Using Problem-Based Learning (PBL) to teach introductory earth science: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Denver, Colorado, Abstracts with Programs, v. 36, no. 5, p. 277.

Wirth, Karl R., Vervoort, Jeffrey D., and Weisberger, Bethany , 2004, Origin and evolution of the Kilimafedha greenstone belt, eastern Tanzania craton: Evidence from Nd and Pb isotopes: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Denver, Colorado, Abstracts with Programs, v. 36, no. 5, p. 224.
Foreman, B. , Rogers, R., Wirth, K. and Hanna, R., 2004, Geochemical correlation and characterization of Two Medicine Formation bentonites, Northwestern Montana:   Annual Meeting of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontologists, Denver, Colorado, Abstracts with Programs, v. 24, no. 3, p. 59.
Greenler, J., Greenler, R., Wirth, K., and Tunnicliff, K., 2004, Science Study Abroad and Socio-Cultural Issues; New Directions in International Education: Building Context, Connections, and Knowledge, Beloit College, Beloit, WI.
Wirth, Karl R., 2003, An Inquiry-Based Approach To Learning Petrology Using Student-Generated Data: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Seattle, Washington, Abstracts with Programs, v. 34, no. 7, p. 122. (poster in pdf format)
Mankiewicz, Carol, Wirth, Karl R., Bevis, Martin, Diggins, John IV, Douglas, Peter, Feucht, Drew, Leven, Chelsea, Mathers, Genevive, Poteat, Veronica, Waldron, Alice, and Ballou Stephen M., Modern Tilefish Mounds Of Isla Cozumel, 2003, Mexico: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Seattle, Washington, Abstracts with Programs, v. 34, no. 7, p. 597.
Davidson, Cameron, Wirth, Karl, R., Creasey, John, 2003, A Proposal To Build Data-Rich Rock Suites For Learning Petrology: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Seattle, Washington, Abstracts with Programs, v. 34, no. 7, p. 122.

Wirth, Karl R., 2003, Using an M&M® magma chamber to illustrate magmatic differentiation: Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Seattle, Washington, Abstracts with Programs, v. 34, no. 7, p. 250. (poster in pdf format)

Wirth, Karl, R., in press , Improving Student Understanding of Magmatic Differentiation Using an M&M® Magma Chamber: Submitted to Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Abstracts with Programs.

Wirth, Karl R., Davidson, Cameron, and Creasy, John W., in press, Refining a Proposal to Build Data-Rich Rock Suites for Learning Petrology: Submitted to Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Abstracts with Programs.


Selected Publications

Jeff D. Vervoort, Karl Wirth, Bryan Kennedy, Travis Sandland, and Karen S. Harpp, in press, The Magmatic Evolution of the Midcontinent Rift: New Geochronologic and Geochemical Evidence From Felsic Magmatism: Precambrian Research, 54 p.

Wirth, K.R., in press, Teaching for Deeper Understanding and Life-Long Learning: Elements, 19 p.

Schmitz, M.D. , Bowring, S.A., Southwick, D.L., Boerboom, T.J., and Wirth, K.R., 2006, High-precision U-Pb geochronology in the Minnesota River Valley subprovince and its bearing on the Neoarchean to Paleoproterozoic evolution of the southern Superior Province: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v., 118, no. 1/2, p. 82-93.
Boerboom, Terry, Holm, Daniel, Wirth, Karl, Woodruff, Laurel, and Cannon, William, 2005, The western margin of the Keweenawan Midcontinent Rift System: Geologic highlights of Archean, Paleoproterozoic, Keweenawan, and Paleozoic bedrock in eastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin: in Robinson, L. et al., Field trip guidebook for selected geology in Minnesota and Wisconsin: Minnesota Geological Survey Guidebook 21, p. 181-207.
Harris, R.A., Moore, T.E., Wirth, K.R., Mull, C.G., McBride, J., 2003, Rooted Brooks Range Ophiolite: Implications for Cordilleran terranes: Comment and Reply: Geology, v. 31, no. 1, p. 91-92.
Wirth, K.R., Grandy, J., Kelley, K., and Sadofsky, S., 2002, Evolution of crust and mantle beneath the Bering Sea region: Evidence from xenoliths and late Cenozoic basalts:  in Miller, E.L., Grantz, A., and Klemperer, S.L., editors, Tectonic Evolution of the Bering Shelf-Chukchi Sea-Artic Margin and Adjacent Landmasses: Boulder, CO, Geological Society of America Special Paper 360, p. 167-193.
Harpp, Karen S., Wirth, Karl R, Korich, Daniel J., 2002, Northern Galápagos province: hotspot-induced, near-ridge volcanism at Genovesa Island: Geology, v. 30, no. 5, p. 399-402.
Miller, E.L., Ireland, T., Klemperer, S., Wirth, K.R., Akinin, V.V., and Brocher, T.M., 2002, Constraints on the age of formation of seismically reflective middle and lower crust beneath the Bering Shelf: SHRIMP zircon dating of xenoliths from Saint Lawrence Island:  in Miller, E.L., Grantz, A., and Klemperer, S.L., editors, Tectonic Evolution of the Bering Shelf-Chukchi Sea-Artic Margin and Adjacent Landmasses: Boulder, CO, Geological Society of America Special Paper 360, p. 195-208.
Cannon, W.F., Daniels, D.M., Nicholson, S.W., Phillips, J., Woodruff, L.G., Chandler, V.W., Morey, G.B., Boerboom, Wirth, K.R., and Mudrey, M.G., Jr., 2001, New map reveals origin and geology of North American Mid-Continent Rift: Eos (Transactions of the American Geophysical Union), v. 82, no. 8, p. 97-101.
Wirth, K.R., Cordua, W.S., Kean, W.F., Middleton, M.M., Naiman, Z.J., 1998, The geology of the southeastern portion of the Midcontinent Rift system, Eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin: 44th Annual Meeting of the Institute on Lake Superior Geology, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Field Trip Guidebook, v. 44, p. 33-75.
Wirth, K.R., Vervoort, J.D., Naiman, Z.J., 1997, Petrography and geochemistry of southernmost volcanic rocks exposed in the Midcontinent rift:  Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 34, no. 4, p. 536-548.
Wirth, K.R. and Vervoort, J.D., 1995, Nd isotopic constraints on mantle and crustal contributions to Early Proterozoic dykes of the southern Superior Province:  in Baer, G. and Heimann, A. (editors), Physics and Chemistry of Dykes, Balkema, Rotterdam, p. 237-249.
Wirth, K.R., Bird, J.M., and Wessels, J., 1994, The diversity of accreted oceanic lithosphere in the Brooks Range, Alaska:  in Ishiwatari, A., Malpas, J., and Ishizuka, H., editors, Circum-Pacific Ophiolites: Proceedings of the 29th Ophiolite Symposium, VSP International Science Publishers, p. 89-108.
Wirth, K.R., Bird, J.M., Blythe, A.E., Harding, D.J., and Heizler, M.T., 1993, Age and tectonic evolution of western Brooks Range ophiolites, Alaska: Results from 40Ar/39Ar thermochronometry: Tectonics, v. 12, no. 2, p. 410-432.
Wirth, K.R. and Bird, J.M., 1992, Chronology of ophiolite crystallization, detachment, and emplacement: Evidence from the Brooks Range, Alaska: Geology, v. 20, p. 75 - 78.
Wirth, K.R., Olivera, E.P., Silva Sa, H., and Tarney, J., 1990, Early Precambrian basic rocks of South America: in Hall, R.P. and Hughes, D.J., editors, Early Precambrian Basic Magmatism, Blackie and Sons Ltd., Glasgow, p. 379-404.
Wirth, K.R., Gibbs, A.K., and Olszewski, W.J., Jr., 1986, U-Pb ages of zircons from the Grão Pará Group and Serra dos Carajás Granite, Pará, Brazil:  Revista Brasileira de Geociências, v. 16, n. 2, p. 195-200.