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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? 

 

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: Monday, December 11, 2017 7:00 PM

What is Space Weather (and Why Should You Care)?

Cynthia Cattell, PhD, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota

NEW LOCATION: Tate Hall, 116 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Room 105. MAP

Summary:

You may have seen spectacular images of blasts of plasma from the sun with dire warnings of the possible effects on satellites in earth orbit. Have you wondered what space weather really is and whether it can actually affect your life? As the sun goes through the 11-year cycle associated with the reversal of its magnetic field, there are dramatic changes that can produce huge clouds of charged gas called coronal mass ejections and shock waves that accelerate particles to relativistic energies. The interaction of these structures and the continuous stream of ‘solar wind’ with the Earth’s magnetic field can have impacts on events from airline travel, cell phone coverage, and power outages to beautiful aurora and manned spaceflight to Mars.  In this talk, I will discuss the history and our current physical understanding of these processes and how they may help us learn about planets in other star systems.

Biography:

Cynthia Cattell is a Professor of Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota. She first saw the aurora on a climbing expedition in Alaska, as a college freshman. Little did she know at that time that the study of the physics of the aurora would become the topic of her doctoral dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley.  Her research is in the area of space plasma physics, studying the impact of the sun, its activity and the solar wind on the Earth, primarily using data from NASA satellites. She has been a member of the ‘Physics Force’ team, doing ‘physics circus’ shows across the state.  She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Geophysical Union. A little known fact is that she has the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in geology, having done field work in Denali Park.

 

 

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.

 

 Outreach

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

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

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