Skip to main content

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 2017-2018 is now available; click here 
All seminars and labs ars free and open to the public.

The seminars are on Mondays at 7:00 PM in Tate Hall Room 105 on the University of Minnesota campus, except where noted otherwise. Note the this is a different location than the 2016-2017 lectures. MAP

 GSM will make any decision canceling or postponing a lecture due to inclement weather no later than 3:00PM the day of the lecture. This information will be posted on the GSM home page
The U locks its doors promptly at 7 PM.  Please wait, as a person will come every five minutes until 7:15 to let in latecomers. 

Next Seminar and Fall Banquet: Monday, September 18, 2017 

Historical Perspective on the Evolution of Antarctic Fish Fauna
Joe Eastman, Ph.D., Prof. Emeritus of Anatomy, Ohio University
Fall Banquet, Annual Meeting, and Lecture
Location: U Garden Restaurant, 2725 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis MAP
Dinner 5:00-7:00 PM; Annual Meeting 7:00; Lecture follows ~7:15 

The interaction between geological and biological processes resulted in much of what we recognize as the modern flora and fauna of the world.  This interplay has frequently given rise to unusual faunas in areas that became isolated during geologic history.  Antarctica is such a place.  Formerly part of Gondwana, Antarctica now occupies a south polar position surrounded by the cold Southern Ocean, and its distinctive fauna inhabits the sea rather than the ice-covered landmass.  This talk will consider the modern Antarctic fishes, and their Eocene antecedents, as an example of faunal change through time in a cold, ice-altered environment where there were repeated advances of the ice sheet onto the continental shelf.  Antarctic fishes also present examples of both adaptive and non-adaptive radiations.  Adaptive radiation is the appearance of group of closely related species, exhibiting notable structural and ecological diversity, in a habitat where they have gained entry.  Darwin’s finches from the Galápagos are the classic example.


Joseph T. Eastman is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy at Ohio University.  He received BA, MS and PhD degrees in Zoology from the University of Minnesota and has been a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center (1970-1973), Brown University School of Medicine (1973-1979), and Ohio University (1979-2014).  His research specialty is the Antarctic fish fauna and fieldwork has taken him to the Ross Sea, Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, Bouvetøya and Tristan da Cunha.  He is the author of Antarctic Fish Biology: Evolution in a Unique Environment, a contributor to Fishes of the Southern Ocean, and a member of the editorial boards of the journals Polar Biology and Antarctic Science.  He lives in Minneapolis and joined the GSM in 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.


Field Trips


GSM conducts professionally-guided field trips. Typically, these are excursions made to locations of geologic interest not usually experienced by the casual traveler. Local field trips can be as short as a few hours, others might encompass a weekend, and still others might take most or all of a week. We have travelled as near as the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and as far as the San Andreas Fault and Death Valley in California. These trips provide a satisfying and memorable learning experience because there are always plenty of opportunities to ask questions of the experts and do hands-on investigations. A comradery with enthusiastic learners and people curious about their natural environment is always a reward in itself. Depending on the destination, there may be a modest charge that includes shared expenses, and a liability waiver must be signed for each participant.  Taking part in the fun may permit Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for teachers and extra credit for students. Past and upcoming field trips are described here.

Upcoming Field Trips and Tours


 Randy Strobel is planning two separate half-day field trips this fall. These are areas that Randy described in his February 6, 2017 lecture to GSM. E-mail for sign-up will be sent to GSM members the week of August 27.



On Sunday, September 17, walking trips of Minnehaha Falls and the nearby Mississippi River gorge, including a look at the new GSM marker soon be erected in the park (if it has been installed). One walking trip will be offered from 10 AM to 12 noon, followed by lunch at Sea Salt Eatery. A second walking trip will be offered from 3 to 5 PM, followed by dinner at Sea Salt Eatery. Each trip will be limited to around 18 persons. If these fill, Randy might schedule a third walking trip on Sunday, September 24.


-          On Sunday, October 8, Mississippi River Fall Color and Rocks Bike Ride: This biking trip will run on both sides of the Mississippi River Gorge, starting at Minnehaha Park, proceed to Lock & Dam # 1, up to the Stone Arch Bridge and back to Minnehaha Park (about 15 miles with a few hills). October 1 is predicted to be peak color this year. We will start around 11 AM and finish around 3 PM, followed by late lunch at Sea Salt Eatery. 


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

Syndicate content