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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: Monday, April 3, 2017 7:00 PM

Fossils on the Iron Range – Hill Annex Paleontology Project


John Westgaard & Douglas Hanks, Science Museum of Minnesota


Kenneth Keller Hall, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis MN 55455

Room 3-230. MAP


The Hill Annex Paleontology Project is a research endeavor exploring the Cretaceous age soils of Minnesota. Building upon the intermittent historical research, the Project aims to build a more concise picture of this prehistoric ecosystem and its floral and faunal assemblages.  Portions of the invertebrate collection have been well described, while other orders and families have remained unexamined including the majority of the vertebrate evidence. In addition, there is need to recapture stratigraphic details lost to time and industry expansion.

Beyond the progress of the scientific record, this Project aims to raise community awareness surrounding this resource and build public outreach.  We hope to open the door to new informal STEM learning opportunities and search for means to broaden amateur participation.

Initiated in 2014, the Project has been based out of the Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet, MN and is being run with an all-volunteer staff.  Come and learn about the Hill Annex Paleontology Project history, our current foci, and see a summary of research findings to date.


John Westgaard graduated with a B.A. in Psychology (Biology minor) from the University of Minnesota on an Ethology (Animal Behavior) track.  He has had two decades of work in the museum environment and has volunteered with Archaeology and Paleontology departments at Science Museum of Minnesota since 2009.  John is a lifelong Minnesota resident.


Douglas Hanks has been an associate and volunteer of the Science Museum of Minnesota Paleontology department since the early 1990’s.  He has served as Field Director and project lead with Marmath Research Foundation for over 6 years. He is a principal partner in authorship of new work on Cretaceous Seaway of North America.



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

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