• Our weekly departmental TEA is held on Wednesdays at 3 PM in alternating ends of the OLRI first floor atrium this year. See you then!
  • Dynamic Earth and Global Change class field trip on 2 November 2017
  • To celebrate National Fossil Day on 21 October 2017, Macalester GeoClub went to the Science Museum of Minnesota to talk to the local community about some of our favorite fossils!
  • Ray, Karl, and Alan hosted an alumni get-together at The Pine Box in Seattle, just a short walk from the Convention Center.
  • From The Crimson White, 15 October 2017: Professor Kristi Curry Rogers addressed a full audience of University of Alabama students and faculty members speaking about her work studying dinosaurs.
  • Geology Spring Newsletter–Read all about the 2016-17 academic year!
  • Reading Rocks: Diala Abboud learned about volcanoes by analyzing xenoliths, rocks inside other rocks.
  • Celebrating the end of the school year and the graduates of 2017, the department held its annual Lacuna Bajada BBQ on 2 May 2017.
  • The Class of 2017 presented their Senior Capstones on Friday, 14 April 2017. Congratulations!Class of 2017
  • The Minnesota Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) is pleased to announce our 2016 Scholarship winner: Glen J. Hartford, Jr. a geology major at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Glen’s professors and teammates have high praise for his leadership, academic knowledge, excellent character, and his “immense passion for rocks as well as people.” Glen is a starting football player and a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).  Glen intends to use the $1,000 towards a geology field camp registration this summer.
  • Temperatures hovered around a cool 20 degrees Fahrenheit for the Geology Department’s Thirteenth Annual Mid-Winter Jökulhlaup (Icelandic for BBQ). Geology students braved the cold to chow down and compete in the “rock hammer throw” contest. 

 Past Events


High-power Rocketry, Stratospheric Ballooning, & other MnSGC Build Projects at the U of MN

James Flaten, Ph.D., Associate Director of NASA’s MN Space Grant Consortium, Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department, U of MN, Twin Cities will present at this joint Physics/Astronomy & Geology Seminar.

In this talk, Dr. Flaten will discuss NASA’s Minnesota Space Grant Consortium (MnSGC), a NASA/aerospace promotion higher education program of which Macalester is a member. In particular, he will discuss MnSGC-sponsored build projects at the U of MN which engage students from many different majors, not just Aerospace Engineering (though that is where the MnSGC is housed on the Minneapolis campus). Dr. Flaten will also talk about two new training initiatives to help people at other schools, possibly Macalester, learn to build and fly high-power rockets and “near-space” craft for stratospheric balloon missions.

Don't forget to join us beforehand for the first departmental TEA of the semester at 3 PM in the OLRI Atrium.


Lacuna Bajada

Geology majors--stop by the Lacuna Bajada (Geology Department BBQ) to celebrate the end of the academic year, share some food and fun, and honor our graduating seniors. Come rain or shine (or snow!). 


Geology Senior Capstone and Honors Presentations

The Geology Department invites the Macalester community to our Senior Capstone and Honors Presentations. Check the posters in the Department for presenters' times.

All are welcome! 


Thirteenth Annual Mid-Winter Jökulhlaup (Icelandic for Geology BBQ)

Food, fun, hammer throw, & more! Predict the temperature at Jökulhlaup this year and win!


Distinguished Alumni Lecture: Josh Miller

Josh Miller, PhD, '00 majored in Geology and will be speaking in Ray Rogers' Paleobiology class 


Distinguished Alumni Lecture: Josh Miller

Josh Miller, PhD, '00 majored in Geology and will be speaking in Kristi Curry Rogers' Biodiversity and Evolution class 


Combined Lacuna Bajada and 4th Annual Mustache Day

Geology students: Senior Capstones are over! Celebrate the end of the semester with your own style of mustache--pick one up in the office. Then join the Geology Department for an end-of-year celebration of food and fun in honor of our graduating seniors out in the Webers Rock Garden, come rain or shine! 


Limnogeology Seminar: The success of an invasive fish across three ecoregions in Minnesota, its drivers and consequences

Przemek Bajer, Research Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, will speak:

Biological invasions are projected to be the main driver of biodiversity and ecosystem function loss in lakes in the 21st century. In this presentation I will discuss the outcome of a century-old invasion, the introduction of common carp to North America, on lakes across Minnesota. I will discuss how and why carp’s success varies across three major ecoregions in Minnesota: Northern Forests, Temperate Forests, and Great Plains. I will also illustrate the effects of carp invasions on water quality, nutrient concentrations and biodiversity in different lake types. Finally, I will discuss whether these impacts are reversible and what lake managers might use to control carp populations.


Geology Senior Capstone and Honors Presentations

The Geology Department invites the Macalester community to our Senior Capstone Presentations. Check the posters in the Department for presenters' times.

All are welcome! (Please note session locations.)

  • 1:30-3:05 PM, presentations in 187 OLRI
  • 3:05 PM, break in 100 OLRI
  • 3:30-5 PM, presentations in 100 OLRI
  • 5 PM, dinner break in 100 OLRI
  • 5:45-6:45 PM, presentations in 100 OLRI
  • 6:45-7 PM, break in 100 OLRI
  • 7-8 PM, presentations in 100 OLRI

Congratulations seniors!


Limnogeology Seminar-History from Mud: Using Paleolimnology to Understand Changing Lakes and Landscapes

Amy Myrbo, Research Associate and Director of Outreach, Diversity, and Education, LacCore/CSDCO, University of Minnesota, will speak.

Lakes are sensitive to processes occurring in their watersheds, but also have powerful internal dynamics due to density, redox, and biological processes. Monitoring, even over decades, can only give us a snapshot of the "state of the lake." In order to prepare for lake responses to future climate and environmental changes, we need to know what has happened over centuries, millennia, or longer. Lake sediment cores provide long histories of internal and external "forcing" of lake systems by natural and anthropogenic factors.  Amy will talk about how cores are collected and studied, and a little about collaborations with Ojibwe researchers to study the history of wild rice and land degradation, and use of cores from Twin Cities urban lakes to inform management practices.


Limnogeology Seminar: Lake Management in a Dynamic Urbanized Landscape

Claire Bleser, PhD, District Administrator at Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District will give a talk titled “Lake Management in a Dynamic Urbanized Landscape." 

The Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District has for charge to protect, manage, and restore water resources within its boundaries.   How do we manage our waters in an urbanized system where the resources are pressured by pollutants and aquatic invasive species? And how do we prioritize management and restoration? This presentation will focus on the approach the District has taken to restore and manage its water bodies.


Limnogeology Seminar-Limnology & Real-world Lake Management

James Johnson, Limnologist/Aquatic Ecologist at Freshwater Scientific Services, LLC.

When managing real-world lakes, a strong understanding of limnological principles is absolutely vital. However, the motivation to manage lakes, the management strategies employed, and the desired results are often dictated more by politics, economics, and lake homeowner expectations.

As a lake scientist, I love the limnological research aspects of my work–study design, data collection and analysis, writing reports, and publishing in journals. But as a lake manager, I spend a surprising amount of time in meetings educating homeowners, helping to secure funding, and applying for permits from regulatory agencies to conduct lake management.

In my talk, I will describe several of my real-world lake management projects that exemplify the importance of having an interdisciplinary background that includes limnology, biology, chemistry, communication, and politics.


EnviroThursday - "Ecology and Geochemistry of Small Mammals – Deciphering Modern and Ancient Food Webs"

Speaker:  Andrew Haveles, Visiting Asst. Professor, Geology Dept., Macalester College

Diet is an ecological trait that species may vary in response to biotic or environmental variations. Stable isotope analysis is one dietary metric that is transferable between modern and fossil populations permitting analysis of diet over various spatial and temporal scales. The presentation will walk through case studies based in the Great Plains that further our understanding of small mammal ecology and sets a baseline for interpreting similar data from different ecosystems and the fossil record.

Andrew Havels is a paleobiologist, modern ecologist, and stable isotope geochemist with research focused on using field and laboratory studies to understand ecological responses to ongoing and past environmental changes. His research typically includes stable isotope geochemistry for diet and environmental reconstructions in combination with other indicators of diet, physiology, movement, and environment.

Refreshments provided.


Limnogeology Seminar

Erik A. Smith, Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Mounds View, MN, will speak on "Developing Predictive Lake Models to Assess Available Fish Habitat and Harmful Algal Blooms."

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed biophysical lake models that simulate trophic dynamics for several Minnesota lakes, including three of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-designated Sentinel lakes. Depth profiles of measured water temperature and dissolved oxygen concentrations were used to calibrate the lake models, in addition to periodic water quality measurements. With these calibrated models, model simulations can be run to evaluate changes in cold-water fish habitat under changing productivity and meteorological stressor gradients. Additionally, in cases of lakes with harmful algal blooms (HABs), model simulations can be used to identify the potential causes of HABs.


Limnogeology Seminar-Minnesota’s Sentinel Lakes Program: A brief review and look toward the future

Steven Heiskary,  Research Scientist, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will speak about the Sentinel Lakes, also referred to as SLICE (Sustaining Lakes in a Changing Environment), and their comprehensive long-term lake monitoring program. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources initiated the effort and invited MPCA to partner on the effort in 2007.  25 lakes distributed statewide, representing the range of lake types found in Minnesota from some of the deepest coldwater lakes (Ten Mile >200 feet) to some of the shallowest (Shaokatan <10 feet) were included.

The presentation will provide a very brief primer on limnology using the Sentinel lakes as examples, an overview of SLICE highlighting a few of the numerous projects completed and associated findings as they contribute to lake management in Minnesota and comments on projects soon to be underway.