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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? 

GSM at the Minnesota State Fair

Visit us every day at the State Fair August 27 through Sept. 7. Our booth is near the center of the Education Building on the east side of the fairgrounds. Stop by to see our many rock and mineral specimens from all over Minnesota, to pick up a lecture schedule, and to learn more about our organization and its educational opportunities. 


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: September 14, 2015

Fall Banquet, Annual Meeting, and Lecture


Dinner 5:00-7:00 PM; Annual Meeting 7:00; Lecture follows ~7:15.

Location: U Garden Restaurant, 2725 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN   Map



Paleontology of the National Parks of the Colorado Plateau

Justin Tweet, M.Sc., Tweet Paleo-Consulting


There are more than two dozen units of the National Park Service in the Colorado Plateau. Almost all of them have yielded some kind of paleontological material, and some of the most significant paleontological sites in the United States can be found within their boundaries. In the past two decades, there has been renewed interest in the fossils of these parks, and many new finds have been documented. Among the sites and topics that will be covered in this presentation are:

-      The fossils of Grand Canyon National Park, which has one of the best fossil records anywhere;

-      Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic tracks of Utah and northern Arizona;

-      The unusual plants and reptiles of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation, best known from Petrified Forest National Park;

-      The dinosaurs of the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation, from Dinosaur National Monument and other sites;

-      Western Interior Seaway invertebrates and vertebrates; and

-      The outstanding Quaternary fossil record of these parks and monuments, particularly in the form of mammal dung and packrat middens.



Justin is a research consultant who works closely with the paleontological “wing” of the National Park Service’s Geologic Resources Division. He earned a BA with a major in geology and a minor in biology from the University of St. Thomas in 2003, as a student of Lisa Lamb and Tom Hickson. He earned a master’s degree in geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder at 2006, where he was a student of Karen Chin.



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:

Oheyawahi/Pilot Knob Preservation


There will be a field trip to this site on Sunday September 20 from 1 pm to 3 pm. The site is a high bluff overlooking Pike Island. It is a site of cultural significance to the Dakota and importance in Minnesota History. The oak savannah habitat is currently being restored by the Pilot Knob Preservation Society, who will be our hosts. The site is also of geological significance as it overlooks the site where glacial River Warren waterfalls split, one branch migrating up the Mississippi to become St. Anthony Falls. 

 You do not need to register for this field trip. Just show up dressed for the weather. 

 A map for finding the location can be found at this link:

 A brochure describing the site can be found at this link:

 The home page for the Pilot Knob Preservation Society can be found at this link:



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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