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David Mickelson

Professor Emeritus and Senior Scientist

Department of Geoscience

David M. Mickelson is Emeritus Professor of Geoscience, Geological Engineering, and Water Resources Management at UW–Madison and has taught glacial geology, intro geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, air photo interpretation and Geology of the National Parks at Wisconsin since 1971. Geomorphology is the study of earth surface processes. One area of his research includes glacial geology. He has done research on modern glaciers and glacial deposits in Sweden, Norway, Argentina, China, Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, New England, and the Midwest. His continuing research interest has been the glacial deposits and the glacial history of Wisconsin. His other main area of research is shoreline erosion and nearshore and beach processes. He has published numerous papers on shore processes on the Great Lakes and on Wisconsin glaciation. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Ice Age Trail Alliance since 2010. He is the first author of the book “Geology of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail” published by the University of Wisconsin Press in late 2011.

Talks:

  • This talk describes how Wisconsin’s landscape came to be what it is today. Southwestern Wisconsin, the Driftless Area, was never glaciated and its deep valleys and narrow ridges result from millions of years of stream erosion. At times in the past glaciers have covered more than two thirds of Wisconsin, and the area covered by the last glaciation exhibits excellent examples of glacial topography. Wisconsin was chosen as the location of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and the Ice National Age Scientific Reserve mostly for that reason. Our most recent glaciation was the Wisconsin glaciation, and it was responsible for many of the glacial landforms we see today.

    This talk can be designed for specific areas of the state.
    Approximate Length of Talk: 20 minutes to 1 hour

  • Southwestern Wisconsin, the Driftless Area, was never glaciated and its deep valleys and narrow ridges result from millions of years of stream erosion. About 25,000 years ago glaciers covered more than two thirds of what is now Wisconsin, creating the glacial landforms we see today. The 1000-mile trail across Wisconsin highlights many of these Ice Age features. This talk will explain the formation of moraines, kettles, outwash plains, drumlins, eskers, and tunnel channels using slides of modern glaciers as well as many photos and maps from Wisconsin.

    Approximate Length of Talk: 20 minutes to 1 hour (can be flexible)

  • Great Lakes shore processes
  • Determining safe setback distances for building on Great Lakes shore bluffs
  • Genesis of the Southern Wisconsin Landscape