Times on the Hiawatha National Forest: From Geocorps Participant to Academic


Times on the Hiawatha National Forest: From Geocorps Participant to Academic



Natural Sciences


The GeoCorps program run by the Geological Society of America (GSA) in conjunction with the US Forest Service is a program that offers great returns beyond the initial appointment for science and society over the long term. In summer 2010, the Hiawatha National Forest, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, hosted a GeoCorps participant (Larson) to map the extensive surficial karst of the region. One of the results of this effort was the realization that the location of karst features in the region could be predicted based on elevation and that this elevation matched to the shorelines of Glacial Lakes Algonquin and Nipissing; this work was presented at the 2010 Annual GSA meeting. During summer 2011, the HNF hosted Larson again as a Guest Scientist to continue the mapping of the karst features in the area and he was able to refine and more thoroughly test the karst-paleoshoreline relationship; this work was presented at the 2011 Annual GSA meeting.

Starting in summer 2015 Larson and colleagues brought undergraduate students to the HNF to continue the work started during the GeoCorps program and to begin new projects. These projects have: identified paleoshoreline features; identified and located numerous karst features; investigated karst forming processes, and; begun to define the Silurian stratigraphy of the area. These projects have been conducted by 16 undergraduate students so far, and have resulted in 26 presentations at regional or national GSA meetings, most by students. All products of this work are shared with the Forest Ranger and are used to add to their understanding of the area.

Current and future efforts led by Larson and his research group plan to focus on: dye tracing to delineate groundwater flow-paths; further investigations into the stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology; investigations into the intersection of plant communities related to lithology and paleoshorelines, and; ultimately in the creation of geologic maps for the topographic quadrangles that make up the field region. For the investment of two summers of GeoCorps work on the HNF, the US Forest Service and the geology discipline have benefited greatly and many geology students have been positively impacted.

Publication Date


Document Type


Original Publication Information

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol 52, No. 6 doi: 10.1130/abs/2020AM-351141


GeoCorps, US Forest Service, Michigan UP, geology students


Earth Sciences | Geology

Times on the Hiawatha National Forest: From Geocorps Participant to Academic