David Mickelson | wisconsinacademy.org
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David Mickelson

Geoscientist / Author

  • Fellow
  • 2018
Science, Geology, Water Resource Management, History

David M. Mickelson is Emeritus Professor of Geoscience, Geological Engineering, and Water Resources Management at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He came to Wisconsin in 1971 after obtaining a BA degree in Geography at Clark University, an MS degree in Geology at the University of Maine, and a PhD in Geology at Ohio State University. During his 34-year teaching career, Mickelson has taught glacial geology, geomorphology, coastal geomorphology, air photo interpretation and geology of the National Parks to thousands of students.

One area of Mickelson research includes glacial geomorphology (the study of earth surface processes), and he has done research on modern glaciers and glacial deposits in Sweden and Norway, Argentina, China, Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, New England, and the Midwest. For Mickelson, a continuing area of research interest is the glacial history and landforms of Wisconsin. His other main area of research is shoreline erosion and nearshore and beach processes in the Great Lakes. He has published numerous papers on shore processes on the Great Lakes and on Wisconsin glaciation.

Throughout his career, Mickelson has done research and summer mapping projects for the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and he now serves on the Wisconsin Geological Mapping Advisory Committee. He served on the Board of Directors of the Ice Age Trail Alliance from 2010 to 2015 and on the Board of the Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve from 2009 to 2015.

Mickelson is the first author of the book Geology of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011). In 2016, he and a cousin published a book entitled From Raccoon Plain to Pakachoag: A History of South Worcester, Massachusetts highlighting the growth and dispersal of an English Enclave. Mickelson is now writing a book explaining the origin of Wisconsin’s landscape with former student and long-time colleague, John Attig.

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