Photograph of a rocky beach in Door County, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Earth Science Quick Facts

Page snapshot: Wisconsin State Geologic MapFossil; 3D modelsRock; Mineral; GemHighest and Lowest Elevations; Places to Visit; and Additional Resources.

Image above: Glacial cobbles of fossiliferous Silurian dolostone on a beach in Door County, Wisconsin. Photograph by Jonathan R. Hendricks.

Geologic Map of Wisconsin

Geologic map of Wisconsin.

Geologic map of Wisconsin showing maximum ages of mappable units. Image by Jonathan R. Hendricks for the Earth@Home project developed using QGIS and USGS data (public domain) from Fenneman and Johnson (1946) and Horton et al. (2017).

Wisconsin State Fossil: Trilobite

Wisconsin's official state fossils is the Silurian trilobite Calymene celebra.

Fossil specimen of the trilobite Calymene celebra from the Silurian Niagara Series of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (PRI 42100). Specimen is from the collections of the Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York. Specimen is approximately 4 cm in length.

3D Models of fossils from Wisconsin

Favosites, a tabulate coral fossil from the Silurian of Wisconsin. Longest dimension of specimen is approximately 16 cm.

Specimens of the inarticulate brachiopod Obolus matinalis from the Cambrian of Polk County, Wisconsin (PRI 76740). Specimens are from the collections of the Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York. Longest dimension of specimen is approximately 7 cm.

Wisconsin State Rock: Red granite

Red granite is mined in northern Wisconsin and, depending on its quality, is used to make products from countertops to gravel. It was formed around 1.85 billion years ago when an island arc crashed into the Superior Upland.

Photograph of red granite from Wisconsin.

Proterozoic-aged red granite from Wausau, Wisconsin. Photograph by James St. John (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license; image resized).

Wisconsin State Mineral: Galena

Galena played an important role in the founding of the state of Wisconsin because European settlers mined it as a lead ore.

Photograph of a sample of the mineral galena.

Sample of the mineral galena from Reynolds County, Missouri. Photograph by "Tjflex2" (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution-NoDervis 2.0 Generic license).

Wisconsin State Gem: None

Wisconsin does not yet have an official state gem.

Wisconsin's Highest and Lowest Elevations

Topographic map of Wisconsin.

Topographic map of Wisconsin with physiographic regions and point of highest elevation identified. Topographic data are derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM GL3) Global 90m (SRTM_GL3) (Farr, T. G., and M. Kobrick, 2000, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission produces a wealth of data. Eos Trans. AGU, 81:583-583).

Highest Elevation: Timms Hill

At 595 meters (1951 feet) above sea level, Timms Hill, located in the northern central part of Wisconsin, is the highest point in the state.

Photograph of Timms Hill in Wisconsin.

Timms Hill, the point of highest elevation in Wisconsin. Photograph by Skye Marthaler (Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).

Lowest Elevation: Lake Michigan

The state’s lowest elevation is Lake Michigan at 177 meters (581 feet).

Places to Visit

University of Wisconsin Geology Museum

Madison, Wisconsin.

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Photograph of fossils on display inside the Geology Museum at the University of Wisconsin.

Fossils on display at the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum. Photograph by Ashley Hendricks.

Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Photograph of reconstructions of dinosaurs at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Dinosaur display at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Photograph by Ed Bierman (Flickr; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Additional resources

Map showing the physiographic provinces of the midwestern United States.

Earth@Home resources about Wisconsin and nearby states:

Earth@Home resources about the Midwest region of the United States: