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Dr. Gene LaBerge

Dr. LaBerge continues to work on the major article, Minerals in the Iron Ores of the Lake Superior Region with George Robinson of the Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech University in Houghton, Michigan. They are now working on isotope age dating to try to put some constraints on when the ores and the other minerals formed. When they get the results of the Ar/Ar dating, they will be able to submit it for publishing.

Last January, Dr. LaBerge was contacted by the Eastern Federation of Mineral and Lapidary Societies and asked to give a series of six hour-long talks with slides on "Minerals" at their spring retreat at Wildacres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina in late April. They would pay expenses and an honorarium for the talks. Gene and Sally decided to "go for it" and prepared six carousels of about 120 slides each -- and then began to wonder if he would remember the info on all 700 of the slides!! They drove down, and found their way to Wildacres at the top of a remote mountain north of Ashville, North Carolina. It turned out to be a very interesting six days on the mountain with wild wind storms, etc. Gene did remember the information for most of the slides, and he thinks that he was the only one who knew that he missed a few! They left for home just before the rash of tornadoes hit in central and eastern North Carolina.

Shortly after returning home, Gene and Sally spent some time working with the DNR folks at the Mead Wildlife Preserve west of Stevens Point, which has a very good biological program that is visited by hundreds of middle school and high school children from school in Marathon, Portage, Wood, and Clark Counties annually. They want to add a walk-through field trip on the geology of the area for the students. Since Gene had mapped that area (with Paul Myers from UW-Eau Claire) some 40 years ago, he is helping to provide large boulders of the various rocks that enable them to interpret the geologic history of central Wisconsin. Gene will also help write the field trip pamphlet for the students. It promises to be a lot of work, but he finds it interesting.

Gene and Sally had a visit from the whole staff (all nine of them) of the Weis Earth Science Museum at UW-Fox campus in Menasha in early June, ostensibly to look at their mineral collection. However, as the evening progressed, they learned their real mission. Gene and Sally had been selected by the Weis Earth Science Museum as the first recipients of the Katherine Greacen Nelson Award, honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the geology of Wisconsin, or Wisconsinites who have made outstanding contributions to the science of geology. It really was a pleasant surprise!


e-mail: glaberge@charter.net