A great variety of glacial, lake, windblown, and river-deposited material deposited during the Quaternary Period overlies the bedrock of Wisconsin. In some places these sediments are absent, but in most places they are tens to hundreds of feet thick and typically show great vertical and horizontal variation over short distances. Understanding the nature and distribution of Quaternary materials is critical in the evaluation of resource and environmental issues and in land-use planning. Therefore, the Quaternary Geology Program focuses on the development and delivery of information in support of the work of regional, state, and federal agencies that regulate environmental and resource issues.
Numbers on map correspond to project numbers below. Principal investigator follows project name.
- 1. Pleistocene geology of Columbia, Green Lake, and Marquette Counties (Thomas S. Hooyer)
- 2. Pleistocene geology of Door County (Eric C. Carson)
- 3. Quaternary geology of Fond du Lac County (Thomas S. Hooyer)
- 4. Quaternary geology of Grant County (Eric C. Carson)
- 5. Quaternary geology of Manitowoc and Calumet Counties (David M. Mickelson)
- 6. Quaternary geology of Racine and Kenosha Counties (David M. Mickelson)
- 7. Quaternary geology of St. Croix County (David M. Mickelson)
- 8. Pleistocene geology of Waupaca County (William N. Mode)
- 9. Quaternary geology of the Fox River Lowland (Thomas S. Hooyer)
- 10. Quaternary geology of the Lower Wisconsin and Kickapoo River valleys (Eric C. Carson)
- 11. Optical dating of glacial events in Wisconsin (Eric C. Carson)
The Quaternary Geology Program conducts investigations on many aspects of the Quaternary geology of Wisconsin. Typical types of investigations include geologic framework studies such as regional (1:250,000) or county (1:100,000) geologic mapping that includes analysis of sedimentologic and stratigraphic aspects of Quaternary materials, research on aspects of geologic processes or history, and research aimed at developing new techniques for studying Quaternary geology. The results of these investigations are reported in WGNHS maps and reports (some available digitally), articles in professional journals, or in books.
Outreach education is also a major emphasis of the Quaternary Geology Program. One on one consultations, field trips, talks, and short courses are common vehicles for WGNHS Quaternary scientists to describe Wisconsin geology and provide results of research to various audiences (such as the public, K–12 teachers, professionals from federal and state agencies and the private sector, and University colleagues). Another aspect of outreach is the preparation of educational brochures, posters, and books aimed at a non-geologist audience.
Researchers in the WGNHS Quaternary Geology Program are faculty in the University of Wisconsin–Extension’s Department of Environmental Sciences.