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: Fall 2016.
Summer Fun Activities
Visit our Road Marker web site GSM Road Markers where we have create a geologic summer vacation game called Marker Treasure Hunt visit the site for more details.
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 camaraderie 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.
Upcoming Field Trips
Destination: Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary & St. Paul Caves
Date and Time: Sunday, June 26, 2016 @ 2 PM
Note: We have postponed this trip from Saturday until Sunday, due to the weather forecast: Saturday is predicted to be tropically hot and humidity, and includes significant risk of severe weather. We feel the field trip will be both safer and more comfortable on Sunday.
Leader: Greg Brick
To participate: This field trip is free and open to the public. Sign-up is not necessary; just show up on June 26 by 2 PM.
This 2+ hour event will depart from the parking lot at East 4th Street and Commercial Street, under the Third Street Bridge in downtown St. Paul. MAP From there we will walk a half mile over level gravel trails winding through the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary learning about the North Star Cave, Carver's Cave, and Dayton's Bluff Cave. On summer days this hike through open prairie can be sweltering, so bring bottled water. Upon reaching the Sand Castle, discussion will include the local stratigraphy and the tempestuous story of geologist Frederick Sardeson. We will then walk over to the Trout Brook Tunnel for the story of St. Paul's buried rivers. We will reconvene for GSM social hour at the taproom of Flat Earth Brewery, inside the former Hamm's Brewery where, from the panoramic windows overlooking Swede Hollow, we will speculate on how that valley formed. We will wrap up with the story of the deep cellars underneath the building, converted to a Cold War fallout shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
GSM member Greg Brick, Ph.D. was employed as a hydrogeologist at environmental consulting firms and taught geology at local colleges. He has edited the Journal of Spelean History for a dozen years and in 2005 was the recipient of the National Speleological Society’s Cave History award. His first book, Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State’s Subterranean Treasures, was published in 2004. His latest book, Subterranean Twin Cities, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2009, won an award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Destination: Hill Annex Mine State Park
Date: Saturday, July 23, 2016
Leaders: John Westgaard and Doug Hanks
To participate: E-mail GSM Field Trip Coordinator Dave Wilhelm (email@example.com) if you think you might be interested in this trip. You will be placed on an e-mail list to receive further information on this trip as it develops.
Note: This trip is still being planned, with the intent to expand it into a 2 or 3 day trip to include other suitable attractions in the area. The description below covers just the Saturday activities. As plans progress, this description will be updated. If you wish, you’ll be able to participate in just the subset of the field trip that works for you.
GSM member and Science Museum of Minnesota Volunteer Project Lead John Westgaard and his research partner, Doug Hanks, have been working on Cretaceous Materials on the Mesabi Iron Range the last two summers. They've been based mainly out of the Hill Annex Mine State Park, in Calumet, MN. They will share their current research in the area: Hill Annex Mine Paleontology Project. The tour of the mine site and their presentation will take a half-day or more. There is also a historical bus tour the park offers on weekends that lasts about 90 min. We may also spend time at the Park Clubhouse/Museum.
Note: The distance from St. Paul to Hill Annex Mine State Park is around 190 miles (3+ hours).
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.