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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?

Next GSM lecture:

GSM Lecture: 

Monday, October 13, 2014, 7:00 PM

The Mount Simon Aquifer


Jim Berg, M.Sc.


Minnesota DNR



This presentation summarizes two reports covering groundwater

investigations for the Mt Simon and Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifers in

southern and central Minnesota. The Phase 1 report published in

June 2011 reported on work accomplished in Martin, Watonwan,

Brown, Nicollet, and Sibley counties. Both investigation phases

included observation well installations, water level monitoring,

groundwater chemical analysis, and aquifer capacity testing to

determine recharge pathways and sustainable limits for this aquifer.

Most data collected for the Phase 2 study are derived from 16 wells

installed at 10 locations to depths of 100 to 695 feet in McLeod,

Wright, Hennepin, Sherburne, Anoka, and Isanti counties.


In the southern part of the study area (Phase 1 area) hydrograph

and geochemical residence time data (14C and tritium) show

relatively isolated conditions with groundwater ages ranging from

6,000 to 30,000 years for the Mt. Simon aquifer. In the northern

portion of the study area (Phase 2 area) chemical residence time

indicators from the Mt. Simon aquifer indicate groundwater ages

less than approximately 1,000 years in eastern Wright and

Sherburne counties and northern Isanti County. These relatively

young groundwater ages are consistent with water level and

stratigraphic information that indicate both direct and indirect

connection of surface water to the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer

through localized focused recharge.


This project has shown that the most critical recharge area for the

Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer and Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan

area water supply includes portions of Wright, Sherburne, and Isanti

counties. Protection of this region from water pollution should be a

high priority for all levels of government. Continued monitoring of

wells installed for this investigation will create a long term record that

can be used to interpret changes in local and regional water supply

due to water use or climate changes.




Hydrogeologist/research scientist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


M.S. Geology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS , 1981

B.A. Geology, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, 1977


AELSLAGID Board, Minnesota – Professional Geologist #30501.

Member Minnesota Groundwater Association (MGWA) and National Groundwater Association (NGWA).


During my 37-years in the earth sciences, 28 of those years have been as a specialist in hydrogeologic investigations covering issues with water supply, contaminated groundwater, groundwater/surface water interactions, distribution of buried sand and gravel aquifers, aquifer recharge, natural groundwater geochemistry, and geographic information system (GIS) modeling of groundwater pollution sensitivity. Throughout my career I have worked on a wide range of projects from local and shallow settings to deep and regional investigations.



Seminars and Labs

The schedule of seminars and labs for 2014-2015 in now available click here . Note that the seminars start a a new time this year, 7:00 PM 

Field Trips

Next field trip: Geology of Dayton's Bluff Sunday October 5 from 11 am to 2 PM

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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