Wisconsin Rocks!

Whatever rock genre you’re into — classic rock, soft rock or alternative rock, the Badger state has all three. But they’re not on your iPod — they lie just beneath your feet. Join us for a very different kind of rock concert at the March edition of UWM’s Science Bag show “Wisconsin Rocks!” Robert Graziano unearths strange and wonderful things about the various categories of rocks and even backs up his presentation with some music.

Geologists have different names for them, but each of these kinds of rocks has each have a distinctive “life cycle,” from formation to final use. Though most rocks take millions of years to form, audience members will help “create” some replica Wisconsin rocks in no time, including the official state rock, red granite. Then it’s on to a cheesehead volcano demonstration, using foam from the Milwaukee company Foamation to explain igneous rocks.

Like to shake, rattle and roll? Then enjoy, as Graziano uses shaker tubes to create sedimentary rocks and a hydraulic rock crusher to deform rocks into the metamorphic kind. Epic!


The Evolution of Life: From Microbes to Dinosaurs

Have you ever wondered how geologists reconstruct the Earth’s history? Join geologist Steve Dornbos as he takes you on a journey through geologic time showing us how fossils are formed, preserved and become more complex as faunal succession occurs. Learn about superposition, index fossils and more. And then play “The Wheel of Fossils” game to learn how evolutionary changes took place over the past three billion years.

Erratic Rocks & Cream City Bricks: Building Milwaukee From the Ground Down

The geological history of a city, starting at the surface with modern buildings constructed from local materials and going down six football field lengths to bedrock, and back six hundred million years in time, comes alive in this illustrated video. Geologist Norman Lasca also demonstrates the tools and methods by which a geologist gathers data and identifies the layers of deposits in an area, and how this information is used to produce 2- and 3-dimensional models of the geological make-up of the area.

Folding, Flooding and Faulting: How the Earth Is Shaped

Picture a bathtub with the drain open and the faucet going, geologist Norman Lasca suggests, to better understand how the watertable and soil conditions interact under conditions of potential flooding. Later in “Folding, Flooding and Faulting: How the Earth is Shaped” he compares the rumpled effect of pushing the sheet of a bed to the folding of the earth’s materials under heat and pressure, into hills and villages. Throughout his presentation Dr. Lasca takes the complex processes involved in flooding and in mountain-building and breaks them down into their individual components.

From Rock to Sand to Muck: All The Dirt On Soils

Soil, the loose unconsolidated material which we take for granted at the surface of the earth, will never again seem ordinary after “From Rock To Sand To Muck: All The Dirt On Soils.” Geologist Norman Lasca literally gets his hands into his subject as he works with what he calls “one of the most important resources we have on the planet.”

From Rock to Sand: The Life History of a Sand Grain

Primal forces are at work in geologist Norm Lasca‘s re-creation of the dramatic story of the history of a grain of sand, most common of substances. He starts with pictures of beaches worldwide and then moves to a large diagram of the rock cycle, a reference point throughout as he examines each of the stages involved.

On the Trail of the Thick-Skulled Dinosaur

How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like? How do we know where to find dinosaur fossils? Or, as geologist Emily Giffin asks in “On the Trail of the Thick-Skulled Dinosaur,” how do you find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for? In answering these questions, she brings fresh focus to a well-known subject and also demonstrates the process of scientific inquiry in a spirited, informative and accessible manner.

Sleuthing the Arctic for a Missing Glacier

Norman Lasca — How science works is as much the focus of this video as is a scientific detective story, one possible only now that the former Soviet Arctic is open to exploration. This search for a "lost" glacier, first hypothesized in the 19th century by famed naturalist Louis Agassiv, re-creates a 4,000-mile journey via nuclear-powered icebreaker across the Arctic from Kola Peninsula to the Bering Straits as two modern-day geologists track "clues" to support a theory that runs counter to "received wisdom."