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Sixth graders visit Nicolet College for hard – and soft – rock tour

Nov. 18, 2013

It’s hard to fathom holding something in your hand that is more than a billion years old. Thirty-two sixth graders from Nativity Catholic School recently had the chance to do just that during a visit to Nicolet College’s Geology Lab to examine the college’s extensive collection of rocks.

Nativity Geology Lab TourActually, igneous and metamorphic rocks a billion years old and more are quite common in this part of the state, Nicolet Geology Instructor Paul Ehlers told the students.

“But in the southern part of the state, rocks that old are virtually non-existent,” Ehlers explained. “Right around Wausau the Canadian shield bedrock ends and you start getting a lot more sedimentary rocks, which aren’t nearly as old.”

Over the course of their visit Ehlers walked the students through the wide variety of rocks that are found in different parts of the state and explained the geologic processes that gave each its unique character.

“The kids were so engaged and interested in what they were looking at,” said Ehlers, who regularly gives presentations at PK-12 schools in the Northwoods.