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Welcome to the Geological Society of Minnesota

The Geological Society of Minnesota is a public-spirited, nonprofit educational organization that has been in operation since 1938. Our ongoing mission has been to promote public interest and supply educational support in the geological sciences. We do this by sponsoring free lectures and labs at the University of Minnesota, conducting statewide and regional field trips, holding classroom presentations for schools, maintaining a media library, publishing relevant information for public distribution, and maintaining and expanding upon a series of geological markers located throughout the state.

GSM's exciting, illustrated Seminars are presented by leading professionals in their fields of Geology or Earth Science. These engaging talks are free and open to the public, and are especially valuable for enthusiastic learners from secondary school students to adults. A question and answer opportunity is always included. Where else can you enjoy an intriguing exchange with a leading scientist or educator? Our novice-friendly labs demonstrate at a comfortable pace the ideas and principles of geology and earth science. They allow an involved, hands-on learning experience for beginners, or a helpful refresher for the seasoned enthusiast. These instructive sessions are also free and open to the public. Where else can you actively practice science, under expert guidance, for free? 


Seminars and Labs

The schedule of seminars and labs for 2015-2016 is now available; click here

The seminars are on Mondays at 7:00 PM on the University of Minnesota campus, except where noted otherwise.


Next Seminar: December 7, 2015 7:00 PM

A Tour of the Solar System


Robert Gehrz, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota; Director of University of Minnesota Observatories


Location: University of Minnesota East Bank campus,

Kenneth Keller Hall, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis MN 55455

Room 3-210. MAP


The bulk and surface characteristics of the planets will be described. Evidence for the formation of the planets by the accretion of small bodies will be presented and the three major debris fields remaining from that process will be examined.  Special attention will be given to the geology of the Terrestrial Planets.  The similarities between the processes in these planets and the processes observed to be active on Pluto will be mentioned briefly.



Robert D. Gehrz was born in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in St. Paul, MN where he graduated from Central High School in 1963.  He received a BA in Physics from the University of Minnesota in 1967 and a PhD in Physics from the University of Minnesota in 1971.  From 1972 until 1985, Gehrz was on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Wyoming where, in collaboration with John A. Hackwell, he built the Wyoming Infrared Observatory Wyoming Infrared Observatory. The 2.34-meter Wyoming Infrared Telescope was the largest IR telescope in the world at the time of its completion in 1977.  Since 1985, Gehrz has been a Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Observatories at the University of Minnesota. He was appointed Founding Director of the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics from June, 2011 through June, 2014. He is a frequent guest observer at ground-based and space-based observatories world-wide.   In addition to conducting an extensive research effort in ground based infrared astronomical observations and instrumentation development, Gehrz currently serves as a member of the NASA James Webb Space Telescope Product Integrity Team that reviews the optical telescope assembly and is Chair of the NASA Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy Users Group.

The speaker’s full biography and Curriculum Vitae may be viewed at:



Field Trips

During the months of May through October, GSM conducts a series of professionally-guided, statewide and regional field trips. These are one to three day excursions made to points of geologic interest not usually experienced by the casual traveler. They afford a very memorable and satisfying learning experience as there are always plenty of hands-on and question-answering opportunities. A comaraderie with enthusiastic learners and people curious about their natural environment is always a reward in itself. There is a small charge for any shared expense, and a liability waiver must be signed for each participant.

Next field trip:


Speakers for metro area elementary schools are available through the Public Service Committee to help enrich the education of young learners, particularly the 2nd to 4th grade levels.


Membership in the society is open to anyone with an interest in geology. The benefits of membership include:

  • Extensive Media Library - GSM maintains a collection of more than 240 geological DVDs. These are available to the members at lectures or through the mail for a nominal rental fee. Catalog
  • GSM Newsletter - A quarterly publication containing announcements of upcoming activities, interesting and informative articles on the earth sciences, GSM project and activity reports, and general club news and notices. Past issues
  • GSM Directory - An annual book that is a handy information resource, and makes it easy to access your organization.
  • The opportunity to meet others of diverse backgrounds who share an enthusiasm for learning and a curiosity for the natural world around them.
  • The rewarding feeling of supporting a public-spirited, nonprofit organization dedicated to public education.

Membership Information

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