Judy Poss introduced Bob Cresap, a retired Chemistry teacher who taught for 30 years at Cloquet High School. She pointed out that he was born and raised in North Dakota, her own previous residence.

 

 Cresap began by thanking Steve Micke for preparing handouts on today's topic of Ancient Bog Logs. As a former teacher, he said these notes would be invaluable for our test afterward. First, Cresap told us the story of a sawmill he has, where one day a man stopped in to have a load of logs sawed. When Cresap asked about the logs, he found out they come from a peat bog near Virginia, MN, and probably were quite old. When he sawed the logs, he saw that they had very good, probably ancient wood. Later, Cresap asked his friend, Ron Severs, from the Forestry Center to join him in a visit the bog on this customers' land. They bought some logs and began to study them. Then they took the logs to the University of Minnesota to see if the logs could be carbon dated for age. Since the U of M doesn't have capability of doing these tests, they sent them to the University of Georgia. The results came in and they found that the trees were cedar and pine dating from 2,655 to 3,680 years old. One log even had a cavity in it with pine cones stored, probably from a 3,000 year old squirrel. As if this wasn't exciting enough, Cresap enlisted the help of Russ Smith to flip the flip chart he had prepared to explain the chemistry of carbon dating to us. This is where this reporter got lost and was certain to fail the test afterward. But all was redeemed at the end when no actual test took place and instead we were all invited to take home a piece of the 3,680 year old peat bog log!

 
Sponsors