This class will be geared for folks who want to know more about our truly phenomenal earth and the wondrous science of geology – a science that is often pure detective work, much of which is performed by some incredibly ingenious people.

Much of the information will be shared through Power Point presentations with lots of photographs and diagrams.  There will also, however, be plenty of opportunities to handle some quite spectacular rock samples.  Rocks, which, nestled in the palm of one’s hand, clearly show vivid and delightful evidence of earth processes.

Some of the topics to be covered include:
1.  Plate Tectonics – What, for most people, will be a truly revelatory experience.  (Our planet has been seething for hundreds of millions of years, with the tectonic plates skating wildly over the surface.)
2.  How Do We Know?  How do we know how old the earth is?  How do we know the continents have moved?  How do we know when life started?  The amazing tools of geology. 
3.  The earth’s mantle:  driving force and chemical refinery – how solid but flowing, crystalline rocks in the mantle act like an engine to produce the sea floor, mid-ocean ridges, islands, and the continents with examples, exhibits, and photographs.
4.  Some Selected Engineering Geology Case Histories. Examples of the normal, everyday application of the principles of geology and hydrogeology to some major, engineered human undertakings.
5.  Off the Beaten Path - some truly unusual and rather astonishing case histories in engineering geology.
6.   Topics of special interest.

Participants will be able to wander the cobbled shore of Lake Michigan and discover the phenomenal variety of rocks people find of interest there.  On several evenings during the week, after dinner, slide shows of some geologically spectacular localities can be presented to those who would wish to see them.

A suggested reading list will be provided at the time of the class, but suggested advanced prep can include selecting a few favorite rocks you might like to bring along for discussion and analysis.

Bill Shefchik, now retired, has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in geology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He was a geologist at Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, in Kansas City, for over 36 years.  During that time, he investigated the geology beneath over 500 projects – power plants, large dams, airports, bridges, water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants, factories, railroads, solar farms, wind farms, sanitary landfills, and hazardous waste sites, and abandoned underground mines.

He also contributed to the implementation of several dozen groundwater cleanup efforts, including the design of several major groundwater remediation well fields, which have caused the cleanup of over eight billion gallons of contaminated groundwater.  He also designed or contributed to the design of several large groundwater well fields for water supply.

He has provided geological expertise and oversight to the remediation [by backfilling] of multiple large, collapsing, underground mines. He provided geological expertise as an expert witness, in support of litigation, for over two dozen clients.


Sunday, June 19, 2022 to Friday, June 24, 2022