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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 Lecture:


Monday, April 21, 2014, 7:30 PM

Location: University of MN, Kenneth Keller Hall, 200 Union St SE, Room 3-210, in Keller Hall, also called the Computer Science-Electrical Engineering Building.  It is near the corner of Washington Ave. and Union Street, with parking across Union Street.  Washington avenue is now open to traffic, but see the detailed directions at the end of this e-mail.







Michelle A. LaRue, Ph.D., 

Research Fellow,

University of Minnesota 



As global temperatures continue to rise, polar regions have become some of the most rapidly changing ecosystems on earth, with air temperatures increasing more than 2.5°C over the past several decades. However, some of these changes are manifested in contrasting ways: for example, rapid losses in sea ice extent are being observed in the Arctic, yet small growth in sea ice is occurring in the Antarctic. Despite this dissimilarity, the mechanisms behind these changes are both catalyzed by anthropogenic forces, such as greater concentrations of greenhouse gases and the ozone hole. Here, I will address how climate change works, how decay in polar ice broadly impacts ecosystems, and what this may mean for polar species and environments in the future. I will also talk about observed and potential impacts of climate change on some of our most iconic polar species, such as polar bears and penguins, and why an understanding of these changes is important to sustainable resource management and conservation.


Dr. LaRue started her career in ecology and conservation at Minnesota State University Mankato, where she was an intern for the Minnesota DNR, studying chronic wasting disease and distance sampling methods for estimating populations of whitetail deer. After graduating in 2005, she moved to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she researched potential cougar habitat in the Midwest. Michelle was hired as a research fellow at the University of Minnesota in 2007 and has been conducting research in the Antarctic and Arctic ever since. She recently received her PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on conservation and population assessment of seals and penguins the Southern Ocean, and polar bears and walruses in the Arctic, using high-resolution satellite imagery.


Served by MetroTransit Bus Numbers 2, 3, 16, and 50,

Routes 2, 16 and 50 now stop at Oak Street/Washington and Coffman Union. 

Note that route number 50 only runs during rush hours.

Route 3 stops at Jones Hall(east bound) or Eddy Hall (west bound).


Park in the Washington Street Ramp, bounded by Washington, Harvard, Beacon and Union Streets.

 Washington Ave. is isolated from Union Street  near Keller Hall, the Computer Science/Electical Engineering building that we have been meeting in for the past 10 years.  This complicates driving.  To get into the parking ramp across Union Street from Keller Hall, will take a bit of time and patience.  

If you travel I-94, exit at Huron Ave, which is on the east side of the Mississippi River.  The first stop light after the exit is SE Fulton.  Turn left on Fulton to Harvard Street.  Note that Fulton merges with East River Parkway just before it reaches Harvard, and technically, Fulton ends at the merger.  Do not follow East River Parkway past the University Hospitals, instead turn right on Harvard.

Harvard is a narrow, busy street, so go slow and keep alert for pedestrians and cyclists, who seem to ignore cars.    Cross Washington Ave. and the parking ramp is just on the other side.  Turn left on Beacon Street, and left again on Union.  

An easy way is via 35W to University Avenue.  Then east to Church Street.  Turn right (south) on Church at the Bell Museum.  Go 1 block, then turn left on Union (between the Armory and the Architecture Bldg.).  Follow Union around to the west side of the parking ramp.



For folks who must use I-94, another possibility is to exit at 280 and then exit onto University Avenue.  Take Univ. west as far as Williams arena, then  branch onto 4th St. as it becomes one way.  Go a few blocks to 17th Avenue.  Turn left.  In 1 block you cross Univ. and then 17th becomes Church St.   Then follow the directions in the paragraph just above.

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?

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.


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 125 geological videos and a growing number of interactive, multimedia CD-ROMs for both windows and Macintosh computers. These are available to the members at lectures or through the mail for a nominal rental fee.
  • 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.
  • GSM Directory - An annual book that is a handy information resource, and makes it easy to access your organization.
  • Rocky Roots ... Three Geology Walking Tours of Downtown St. Paul - A free copy of this popular guidebook.
  • 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.
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