AFNS – Platteville

Geologists at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville announced Sunday, April 1, the National Geologist Society has agreed to name a unit of geologic time after Wisconsin state Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison).

“The new unit of time measurement is approximately the time it takes for the ice to recede from a glaciated area the size of Wisconsin after an ice age,” said Dr. Gemma Kwartzrock.

According to researchers with the Wisconsin Geologic and Natural History Survey, it took about 7000 years for the Laurentide Ice Sheet to finally retreat from northern Wisconsin during the last ice age.



Researchers struggled to come up with a name for that length of time before finally deciding to name it “the Risser unit.”

“We figure that’s about the same amount of time Senator Risser has been serving in the legislature,” said Kwartzrock. “Finally, with something comparable, we were able to attach an appropriate name to such a long time period.”

Risser was pleased with the new designation, saying it was an honor. “I’ve served for so long, I’m just glad that finally some good came from it,” Risser said.

Risser said it made him think of his early days with the legislature. “Back then, we were mostly a hunting and gathering tribe, debating the preservation of the American Mastodon.”