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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 2016-2017 is now available; click here

The seminars are on Mondays at 7:00 PM on the University of Minnesota campus, except where noted otherwise.

 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 Spring Banquet: Monday, May 1, 2017


Boom Times, the Early Days of the Oklahoma Oil Industry
Steve Erickson, M.Sc.

The final meeting of the Geological Society of Minnesota for 2016-2017 is the Spring Banquet at U Garden Restaurant (, 2725 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, (612) 378-1255, near the East Bank U of MN campus. This is the same location as the Fall Banquet held in September, 2016. The restaurant is on the north side of University Ave SE, east of 27th Ave SE.  Map  There is a parking lot behind the restaurant.  


The banquet starts at 5:00 PM. No reservation or registration is needed. We recommend the buffet, which is priced at $11.50 + tax & tip. The buffet includes hot tea and water, with other beverages extra. Ordering from the menu at the posted price is also an option. To make payment easy, we encourage everyone to plan to pay using cash. The restaurant does not accept checks.


You may come for just the lecture, skipping the meal if you wish; however we encourage you to enjoy the meal also, as the restaurant appreciates our business in return for hosting this event.  


Following the banquet, starting at 7:00 PM, is our final lecture of the year. As with all GSM lectures, this lecture is free and open to the public.


Boom Times, the Early Days of the Oklahoma Oil Industry
Steve Erickson, M.Sc.


Economic “Booms” have occurred in many industries and in many locations in this country since the beginning. Since the oil industry started in 1859, the oil industry has experienced many of these “booms”. These booms generate great wealth, but also great problems requiring changes to the industry and to the society.  Oklahoma has had 4 major oil booms since statehood in 1907, one of which is currently active due to horizontal drilling and fracking.  Steve will look at the first boom starting in 1897 and continuing to about 1930, when the Great Depression caused oil prices to decline and activity slowed down.


Steve Erickson, Past President of the Geological Society of Minnesota (2002), has been Program Chair of the GSM since 2006.  He has a B.Sc. in Geology from California State University of Long Beach (1983) and an M.Sc. in Geology from the University of Tulsa (1990).  He has worked for I.C Gas Amcana and Samson Resources in Tulsa.  He has worked at 3M since 1996.


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


A tour of St. Anthony Falls Laboratory is scheduled for 4 PM on Wednesday, April 12. All openings for this trip have already been filled, but if you would like to be put on a waiting list, contact Dave Wilhelm at


There will be a total solar eclipse across the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017. Dave Wilhelm is organizing a field trip whose primary purpose will be to view the 2017 eclipse, in the vicinity of Kearney, Nebraska. This is within easy car driving distance from Minnesota, with a Saturday, August 19 departure. Since we will head hundreds of miles southwest, we are including some geology and making a week of it. This trip is actively being planned; more information can be found here. If you are interested and have not yet responded, do so as soon as possible to Dave Wilhelm at, as details on this trip are being sent only to members who have expressly indicated interest.



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