print header

Kent M. Syverson

 KSyverson

Kent Syverson

Professor, Chair
Phonebook

Education/Credentials

 
  • Ph.D. Geology, minor distributed between civil and environmental engineering and geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1992
  • M.S. Geology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988
  • B.S. Geology, Summa Cum Laude, minor in chemistry, University of Minnesota-Duluth, 1986
  • State of Wisconsin Professional Geologist #548 (Licensed in 1995)
 

Courses

 
  • Environmental Geology
  • Geomorphology and Aerial Photograph Interpretation
  • Glacial Geology
  • Oceanography
  • Rocky Mountain Field Studies

Awards/Grants

 
  • UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Teaching Award (2012)
  • University of Wisconsin System Economic Development Incentive Grant ($451,317, 2013-2015). Title: The Responsible Mining Initiative: Building an Educated STEM Workforce for the Natural Resource Industry. Co-authored with Dr. J. Brian Mahoney.

Current Research


My current research interests involve studying the glacial geology of Wisconsin and Maine with undergraduate geology students (see publications list). Students and I have researched the history of the Driftless Area, evidence for permafrost conditions in this part of the state, the origin of the Blue Hills Felsenmeer of Rusk County (Thompson and Syverson, 2006; Hoaglund et al.,2007; Hinke and Wittkop, 2007; Orr et al., 2009; Mohr et al., 2009), and the origin of high-relief hummocky moraines and ice-walled-lake plains (Clayton etal., 2008). I also studied pre-Late Wisconsinan till units to better understand the glacial history of the western Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey [WGNHS] and the Chippewa County Land Conservation Department funded this project in Chippewa County, and the WGNHS published the research results as a bulletin and colored map (Syverson, 2007). I am very interested in glacial history (Syverson and Colgan, 2004, 2011) and glacial stratigraphic units. Recently served as lead editor for the State of Wisconsin glacial lithostratigraphy update published by the WGNHS (Syversonet al., 2011).

Students in my upper-division courses (Geomorphology and Glacial Geology) have been involved extensively with projects to better understand the landforms in the Chippewa Moraine Ice Age National Scientific Reserve Unit near New Auburn, WI. These student projects were used by the National Park Service to develop exhibits for the Chippewa Moraine Visitor Center. These exhibits are worth a special visit to the Visitor Center (Chippewa County Hwy. M east of New Auburn). My research students also have produced geologic interpretive guides for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in the Chippewa Moraine (Syverson et al., 2005) and in the Straight Lake State Park area of Polk County (Freeman et al., 2012a,b).

My glacial geologic research in Maine has been supported by the Maine Geological Survey. Students and I have studied striations (scratches on the bedrock surface formed parallel to the flow directionas the glacier drags rocks across the bedrock) in Maine as evidence for major ice-flow direction changes (Syverson and Greve, 2003; Syverson and Thompson, 2008; Syverson and Olson, 2011). Ice-flow directions were increasingly deflected by a calving glacial margin in the Penobscot River valley (Syverson and Thompson, 2008; Syverson and Olson, 2011) and 200- to 400-m-high bedrock "bumps" at the base of the glacier as the ice thinned, a situation similar to my Ph.D. study area in Glacier Bay, AK. Students and I also have investigated glacial-marine sediment in the China Lake and Bangor regions in southern Maine (Syverson and Mans, 2005; Syverson and Thompson, 2008). Heavy glacier ice during the Ice Age caused the land surface to sink, and the ocean flooded the depressed land surface as the glacier ice melted.

Since 2009 I have become very interested in the geology of frac sand deposits in the State of Wisconsin (see a video of my frac sand geology seminar presented on 2/17/2012). Frac sand, used enhance recovery in the oil and natural gas industry, is becoming a major industry in western Wisconsin. I have done consulting in the sand industry, and this has led to a research project studying the mineralogy of sandstone cements (Haas et al., 2014). This has important implications for the composition of airborne dust particles. Research projects and our field-based geology program are preparing our students for jobs in the industrial sand industry. These activities also laid the foundation for the Responsible Mining Initiative Economic Development Incentive Grant in 2013 ($451,000) to provide more scholarships and paid internship experiences for geology majors.

Previous Research

 

My undergraduate degree in geology was completed at University of Minnesota - Duluth. I spent the summer of 1986 with the U.S. Geological Survey at Mt. St. Helens installing a seismic station on the lava dome and writing a program to analyze earthquake migration beneath the lava dome. Then I moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my M.S. and Ph.D. research. My M.S. research examined the glacial geology of the northern Kettle Interlobate Moraine in Washington County, WI (NW of Milwaukee). My Ph.D. research in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeastern Alaska, focused on esker genesis, ice-marginal lake sedimentation, ice ablation beneath debris, the erosional record formed during complex deglaciation events, and the formation of pitted outwash plains and lateral meltwater channels.

Organization Memberships

 


Invited Lectures

 

Frac Sand Supply &Logistics Conference, 4th annual conference, Sept. 24-25, 2015, invited lecture entitled The Responsible Mining Initiative, presented in San Antonio, TX.

Geological Society of Minnesota, April 6, 2015, invited lecture entitled Industrial Sand Mining in Wisconsin – Geology and Controversies, presented at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) Minnesota Annual Conference, April 22-23, 2014, Duluth, MN. Talk with co-author J. Brian Mahoney entitled: Developing a new Responsible Mining program in Geology at UW-Eau Claire.

University of Minnesota-Duluth, Dept. of Geological Sciences, February 6, 2014, invited lecture entitled The Frac Sand Mining Boom in the State of Wisconsin -Geology and Controversies, presented at Duluth, Minnesota.

Silica Sand &Construction Aggregate Resources of the Upper Midwest, September 16, 2013, workshop sponsored by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) Twin Cities Section.Talk entitled: Mineable resources in Wisconsin – from iron ore and volcanogenic massive sulfides to glacial outwash and frac sand: An overview. 

Conference on Silica Sand Resources in Minnesota and Wisconsin, October 2, 2012, workshop sponsored by the UMD Precambrian Research Center, Natural Resources Research Institute, and the Twin Cities Section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). Co-presenter of lead talk for the workshop with Dr. Tony Runkel (Minnesota Geological Survey), entitled: Geological Occurrences and Origins of Silica Sand in the Upper Mississippi Valley.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Dept. of Geology, Feb. 2, 2012, invited lecture entitled The Frac Sand Mining Boom in Wisconsin: Geology, Impacts, and Politics, presented in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Dept. of Geology, Nov. 6, 2008, invited lecture entitled Using Glacier Bay, Alaska, to interpret the deglaciation of high-relief areas in Maine and Scandinavia, presented in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

University of Bergen, Dept. of Geology, Sept. 14, 2007, invited lecture entitled Deglaciation of high-relief parts of Glacier Bay, Alaska, and Maine: Implications for Scandinavia, presented in Bergen, Norway.

Stockholm University, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Sept. 4, 2007, invited lecture entitled Deglaciation of high-relief parts of Glacier Bay, Alaska, and Maine: Implications for Scandinavia, presented in Stockholm, Sweden.

Göteborg University, Dept. of Geology, August 29, 2007, invited lecture entitled Deglaciation of high-relief parts of Glacier Bay, Alaska, and Maine: Implications for Scandinavia, presented in Göteborg, Sweden.

Minnesota Geological Society, March 21, 2005, invited lecture entitled "Geology of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, Wisconsin," presented at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Dept. of Plant and Earth Sciences, April 2, 2003, invited lecture entitled "Glacial Geology of Western Wisconsin" presented in River Falls, Wisconsin.

University of Minnesota-Duluth, Dept. of Geology, December 2, 1999, invited lecture entitled “Glacial History of Western Wisconsin,” presented at Duluth, Minnesota.

Minnesota Geological Society, March 8, 1999, invited lecture entitled "Glaciers and Glacial Landscapes," presented at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Maine Geological Survey, June 18, 1997, invited lecture entitled "Effects of Topography and Tidewater Glaciers on Deglaciation Patterns in Glacier Bay, AK--Implications for Maine," presented in Augusta, Maine.

Presentations Winning Awards At Professional Conferences

 

Floyd, C.T.*, Syverson, K.M., and Hupy, C.M., 2011, Using LiDAR data and ArcGIS to evaluate subtle glacial landforms associated with the early Chippewa and Emerald Phase ice-margin positions, Barron County, Wisconsin: Institute on Lake Superior Geology Proceedings, 57th Annual Meeting, Ashland, WI, v. 57. p. 35-36.  Winner of ILSG Student Paper Award in the category “Most innovative use of new technology to solve a geological problem”. Click here for printable version of paper.

Orr, I.M.*, Mohr, A.R.*, Syverson, K.M., and Jol, H.M., 2009, Sedimentology of the Blue Hills Felsenmeer State Natural Area, Wisconsin:  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs (North-Central Section meeting, Rockford, IL), v. 41, no. 4, p. 63.  Winner of Great Lakes Section - SEPM Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award. Click here for printable version of paper.

Hoaglund, S.A.*, Teige, E.L.*, and Syverson, K.M., 2007, Potential meltwater incision of the Blue Hills Felsenmeer valley, Rusk County, Wisconsin, during the late Wisconsin Glaciation: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs (North-Central/South-Central Joint Section Meeting, Lawrence, KS) , v. 39, no. 3, p. 60. Winner of GSA Outstanding Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation Award. Click here for printable version of paper.

Thornburg, K.L.*, Syverson, K.M., and Hooper, R.L., 2000, Clay mineralogy of till units in western Wisconsin:  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs (National meeting, Reno, NV), v. 32, no. 7, p. A-270.  Winner of Austin A. Sartin Poster Paper Award.

Holmes, M.A.*, and Syverson, K.M., 1996, Permafrost history of Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties, Wisconsin, as indicated by ice-wedge casts:  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs (North-Central Section, Ames, IA), v. 28, no. 6, p. 45.  Winner of Great Lakes Section - SEPM Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award.

Schels, J.A.*, and Syverson, K.M., 1995, Pleistocene geology of eastern Chippewa County, Wisconsin:  Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, Program for Annual Meeting (Madison, WI), p. 49-50.  Winner of Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters Best Student Poster Award.

Syverson, K.M., 1991, Ice-marginal lake sedimentation in the Burroughs Glacier area, Glacier Bay, Alaska, and some hydrogeologic implications:  Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs (North-Central Section, Toledo, OH), v. 23, no. 3, p. 63.  Winner of Geological Society of America Outstanding Student Paper Award.

Selected Publications

 

Syverson, K.M., and Colgan, P.M., 2011, The Quaternary of Wisconsin: An updated review of stratigraphy, glacial history, and landforms, in Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P.L., and Hughes, P.D., eds., Quaternary Glaciations -- Extent and Chronology, Part IV – a closer look:  Developments in Quaternary Science, v. 15, Amsterdam, Elsevier Publishing, p. 537-552.  (Invited) 

Attig, J.W., Bricknell, M., Carson, E.C., Clayton, L., Johnson, M.D., Mickelson, D.M., and Syverson, K.M., 2011, Glaciation of Wisconsin [4th edition]:  Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Educational Series 36, 4 p.

Mickelson, D.M., Johnson, M.D., and Syverson, K.M., 2011, Geology of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, in Miller, J.D., Hudak, G.J., Wittkop, C., and McLaughlin, P.I., eds., Archean to Anthropocene: Field Guides to the Geology of the Mid-Continent of North America: Geological Society of America Field Guide 24, p. 285–297, doi:10.1130/2011.0024(13).

Syverson, K.M., Clayton, L., Attig, J.W., and Mickelson, D.M., eds., 2011, Lexicon of Pleistocene Stratigraphic Units of Wisconsin:  Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Technical Report 1, 180 p. Available in full  text online from the WGNHS website. 

Syverson, K.M., and Olson, J.D.*, 2011, Surficial geology of the Hampden 7.5-minute quadrangle, Hancock, Penobscot, and Waldo Counties, Maine:  Augusta, Maine Geological Survey, Open-File Report 11-7, 16 p. Click here for printable version paper.

Syverson, K.M., and Olson, J.D.*, 2011, Surficial geology of the Hampden 7.5-minute quadrangle, Maine:  Augusta, Maine Geological Survey, Open-File Map 11-4, scale 1:24,000.

Syverson, K.M., Olson, J.D.*, and Doughty, D.F., 2011, Surficial materials of the Hampden 7.5-minute quadrangle, Maine:  Augusta, Maine Geological Survey, Open-File Map 11-3, scale 1:24,000.

Weddle, T.K., Kelley, A.R., Hooke, R.LeB., Hildreth, C.T., Syverson, K.M., and Caron, Lynn, 2010, a glacial geology transect through the Ellsworth and Bangor region of Maine:  Guidebook to Field Trips in Coastal and Interior Maine, New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference, 102nd Annual Meeting, 2010, p. 133-151.

Syverson, K.M., and Thompson, A.H.*, 2010, Surficial geology of the Bangor 7.5-minute quadrangle, Maine:  Augusta, Maine Geological Survey, Open-File Map 10-2, scale 1:24,000.

Syverson, K.M., and Thompson, A.H.*, 2008, Surficial geology of the Bangor 7.5-minute quadrangle, Penobscot County, Maine:  Augusta, Maine Geological Survey, Open-File Report 08-52, 16 p.

Syverson, K.M., and Mickelson, D.M., 2009, Origin and significance of lateral meltwater channels formed along a temperate glacier margin, Glacier Bay, Alaska:  Boreas, v. 38, p. 132-145.  doi 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2007.00004.x.

Clayton, L., Attig, J.W., Ham, N.R., Johnson, M.D., Jennings, C.E., and Syverson, K.M., 2008, Ice-walled-lake plains: Implications for the origin of hummocky glacial topography in middle North America: Geomorphology, v. 97, no. 1-2, p. 237-248, doi 10.1016/j.geomorph.2007.02.045.

Syverson, K.M., 2007, Pleistocene geology of Chippewa County, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 103, 53 p. Abstract and selected glacial geological photos from this report

Syverson, K.M., 2007, Pleistocene geology of Chippewa County, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey map, scale 1:100,000.

Weddle, T.K., Neil, C.D., and Syverson, K.M., 2006, Surficial geology of the upper Sandy River valley, west-central Maine: Guidebook to Field Trips around Rangeley, Maine, New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference, 98th Annual Meeting, 2006, p. 13-24.

Clayton, L., Attig, J.W., Mickelson, D.M., Johnson, M.D., and Syverson, K.M., 2006, Glaciation of Wisconsin [3rd edition]:  Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Educational Series 36, 4 p.  Click here for information about ordering this publication.

Syverson, K.M., Baker, R.W., Kostka, S., and Johnson, M.D., 2005, Pre-Wisconsinan and Wisconsinan glacial stratigraphy, history, and landscape evolution, western Wisconsin, in Robinson, L., ed., Field trip guidebook for selected geology in Minnesota and Wisconsin:  Minnesota Geological Survey Guidebook 21, p. 238-278.

Syverson, K.M., and Colgan, P.M., 2004, The Quaternary of Wisconsin: a review of stratigraphy and glaciation history, in Ehlers, J., and Gibbard, P.L., eds., Quaternary Glaciations -- Extent and Chronology, Part II: North America: Amsterdam, Elsevier Publishing, p. 295-311.

Syverson, K.M., 1998, Glacial history of western Wisconsin, in Syverson, K.M., and Havholm, K.G., eds., Geology of Western Wisconsin: Guidebook for 61st Annual Tri-State Geological Field Conference and University of Wisconsin System Geological Field Conference, p. 15-28. Available from the UW-Eau Claire Geology Dept.

Syverson, K.M., 1998, Geology of the Chippewa Moraine Ice Age National Scientific Reserve Unit, Chippewa County, Wisconsin, in Syverson, K.M., and Havholm, K.G., eds., Geology of Western Wisconsin: Guidebook for 61st Annual Tri-State Geological Field Conference and University of Wisconsin System Geological Field Conference, p. 57-65. Available from the UW-Eau Claire Geology Dept.

Syverson, K.M., 1998, Geomorphology of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus region, in Syverson, K.M., and Havholm, K.G., eds., Geology of Western Wisconsin: Guidebook for 61st Annual Tri-State Geological Field Conference and University of Wisconsin System Geological Field Conference, p. 85-86.

Syverson, K.M., 1998, Sedimentation in short-lived ice-contact lakes, Burroughs Glacier, Alaska: Boreas, v. 27, no. 1, 44-54, doi 10.1111/j.1502-3885.1998.tb00866.x.

Mickelson, D.M., and Syverson, K.M., 1997, Quaternary geologic map of Ozaukee and Washington Counties, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey map, scale 1:100,000.

Mickelson, D.M., and Syverson, K.M., 1997, Quaternary geology of Ozaukee and Washington Counties, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural
History Survey Bulletin 91
, 56 p.

Syverson, K.M., and Mickelson, D.M., 1997, The Holy Hill Formation (New), in Mickelson, D.M., and Syverson, K.M., Quaternary geology of Ozaukee and Washington Counties, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 91, p. 49-52.

Syverson, K.M., 1995, The Kettle Moraine of southeastern Wisconsin
(U.S.A.)--An interlobate moraine of fluvial origin: in Warren, W.P., and Ashley, G.M., eds., Irish Eskers/Origins of Ice-Contact Stratified Deposits Abstracts, International Quaternary Association Commission on Formation and Properties of Glacial Deposits, Geological Survey of Ireland, p. 9.

Syverson, K.M., 1995, The ability of ice-flow indicators to record complex, historic deglaciation events, Burroughs Glacier, Alaska: Boreas, v. 24, p. 232-244, doi 10.1111/j.1502-3885.1995.tb00776.x.

Syverson, K.M., and Mickelson, D.M., 1995, Ablation of debris-covered ice and the formation of pitted outwash plains at Burroughs Glacier, southeastern Alaska, in Engstrom, D.R., ed., Proceedings of the Third Glacier Bay Science Symposium, 1993: National Park Service, Anchorage, p. 66-74.

Syverson, K.M., Gaffield, S.J., and Mickelson, D.M., 1994, Comparison of esker morphology and sedi