For only the second time ever, Aroostook County will serve as the site of the New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference (NEIGC). This 114th annual meeting, to be held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle Oct. 6-8, will welcome more than 175 college faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and professional and amateur geologists from New England and beyond for three days of geologic field trips in northern Maine and western New Brunswick.
Dr. Chunzeng Wang, UMPI Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, is serving as the organizer for this year’s event, which is being co-organized by Dr. David Lentz of the University of New Brunswick. The theme of this year’s conference is The Geology, Tectonic Evolution, Critical Minerals, and Glaciation of the Appalachians in Northern Maine and Western New Brunswick.
The event will include 12 field trips in total, covering the areas of bedrock geology, economic geology, and quaternary and glacial geology. Dr. Wang shared that field trips will cover all the major lithotectonic belts and terranes in northern Maine and western New Brunswick, including, from northwest to southeast, Connecticut Valley-Gaspé, Munsungun-Winterville (a newly identified peri-Laurentia terrane), Weeksboro-Lunksoos Lake, Number Nine Mountain, Aroostook-Matapedia, and Miramichi/Meductic. While some trips will require smaller groups because they’ll be canoeing for part of their trip, others will have groups of 50 or more exploring the geologic features of the region.
According to Dr. Wang, due its unique field trip-focused style, the NEIGC is one of the most attractive geologic conferences in New England and northeastern America. A new addition to the conference this year is a full-color trip guidebook, edited by Drs. Wang, Allan Ludman, and David Lentz.
The weekend activities will also include a banquet on Saturday evening, honoring five individuals who have made a lasting impact on northern Maine, from a geological perspective. NEIGC 2023 is dedicated to Drs. Gary Boone and Robert Marvinney.
Dr. Boone, who passed away this year, was a pioneering geologist for northern Maine. He conducted bedrock mapping in the Deboullie and Fish River Lake areas in the early 1950’s while a doctorate student at Yale. When he was a professor of geology at Syracuse University, he would spend his summers as a research geologist with the Maine Geological Survey. In 1985, he became one of three editors of the still-extant Bedrock Geologic Map of Maine.
Dr. Marvinney, one of Dr. Boone’s doctorate students at Syracuse, served for 26 years as the Maine State Geologist. He also served as Director of the Bureau of Resources and Land Use Planning for 34 years with the Maine Geological Survey. In recent years, Dr. Marvinney played a critical leadership role in the USGS-funded STATEMAP and Earth MRI bedrock geologic mapping and airborne geophysical survey projects in northern Maine. That work has led to breakthroughs in the study of Maine Northern Appalachian geology and tectonics and the critical mineral resource discovery at Pennington Mountain.
The event will also honor three other geologists who have made significant contributions to the study of geology in northern Maine: Bill Forbes, Brad Hall, and David Roy.