By Elaine Lillback, FHM Reporter
Baldwin Wallace Geology Professor and former Fairport Harbor resident and graduate, Professor Paul Hilston returned to his hometown and enlightened the FHM audience with the weighty subject of rocks, specifically pre-Cambrian rocks comprising the Baltic Shield.
The Baltic Shield, also known as the Fennoscandian Shield, is the exposed Precambrian northwest segment of the East European Craton. It contains some of the oldest rocks found on the European continent, mostly gneisses and greenstones.
Hilston broke the ice and entertained his audience with a story of his father asking him to take his "little red wagon" and deliver concealed bottles to the businesses on High Street. He also recalls sitting in the back of a coal truck pushing coal to even the load in his father's coal dump truck getting the order ready for delivery. Hilston's coal yard was down the hill on Water Street right behind our present day museum.
Professor Hilston showed earth maps, which indicated that the Baltic Shield was very similar to other "shields" found around the globe. Thus, many of the rocks and metals found in any of these rock formation shields are very similar in content. Finland has a lot of granite, fire-formed by heat and pressure. There is a lot of copper, gold, nickel, chrome and other rare elements that are needed in making modern day computers.
An interesting story, revealed Hilston, involved of the transporting a cobalt waste by product called tailings, by rail from the Congo to Port Elizabeth in South Africa and then shipping by freighter to Helsinki where it was processed. The last leg of the journey involved shipping it on to Cleveland, Ohio. The demand for rare earth elements is very strong, with many countries like China are involved.
Rare minerals are incorporated into electronics and computer manufacture.
The riches of copper, chrome and nickel are also found in upper Russia in northeastern Karelia and lower southeastern Karelia. Finland ceded this land to Russia after the Winter War in 1940.
Hilston brought a large supply of stones to exhibit. Heavy algae, rock with sedimentation lines, were extremely interesting. Granite, gneiss, malachite, copper, dolomite, limestone and embedded garnets also were on display. All of this is part of Finland, and Paul promises to return another time to speak about these many, many different rocks. He was very interesting, and even though his language was technically difficult at times, he will talk about these the next time.
Refreshments were prepared and served by Elaine Kangas and Pat Spivak.
A lovely birthday cake had been prepared to honor Helen Kasari and her 95th birthday and John Laituri's 90th.
Linda McAdams, FHM's program chair introduced Hilston.
Paul was raised in Fairport, attended Zion Lutheran Church; he was the grandson of Harvey and Laina Wakkila, both Finns from Fairport. His father was Ken Hilston who had married Pauline Veryk. His early education was from Fairport Harding High School, his college BS from Defiance College, and a MS from Cleveland State University. He has been teaching for six years at Baldwin Wallace College. He has also been doing volunteer work with the Rocky River Nature Center, a part of the Cleveland Metro Parks.
Text copyright: Elaine Lillback, Photos copyright:Lasse Hiltunen