Geological Society of America

Geological Society of America

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The Geological Society of America (or GSA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of the geosciences. The society was founded in New York in 1888 by Alexander Winchell, John J. Stevenson, Charles H. Hitchcock, John R. Proctor and Edward Orton and has been headquartered at 3300 Penrose Place, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

, USA, since 1968. As of 2007, the society has over 21,000 members in more than 85 countries. The stated mission of GSA is "to advance the geosciences, to enhance the professional growth of its members, and to promote the geosciences in the service of humankind". Its main activities are sponsoring scientific meetings and publishing scientific literature, particularly the journals Geological Society of America Bulletin (commonly called "GSA Bulletin") and Geology. A more recent publication endeavor is the online-only science journal Geosphere. In February 2009, GSA began publishing Lithosphere. GSA's monthly news and science magazine, GSA Today, is open access online.

The society has six regional sections in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and seventeen specialty divisions.

GSA began with 100 members under its first president, James Hall
James Hall (paleontologist)
James Hall was an American geologist and paleontologist. He was a noted authority on stratigraphy and had an influential role in the development of American paleontology.-Early life:...

. Over the next 43 years it grew slowly but steadily to 600 members until 1931, when a $4 million endowment from 1930 president R.A.F. Penrose, Jr. jumpstarted the GSA's growth.

Annual meetings


The most recent GSA annual meeting was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

, 9–12 October, 2011.

Future meetings will be as follows:
  • 2012 Charlotte, North Carolina
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

    , 4–7 November
  • 2013 Denver, Colorado
    Denver, Colorado
    The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

    , 27–30 October
  • 2014 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 19–22 October


Annual meetings consist of talks and poster presentations about geology, and also include booths from schools, companies, and other geological organizations.

Positions Statements


As the need arises, the GSA issues Position Statements "in support of and consistent with the GSA's Vision and Mission to develop consensus
Scientific consensus
Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the...

 on significant professional, technical, and societal issues of relevance to the geosciences community. Position Statements, developed and adopted through a well defined process, provide the basis for statements made on behalf of the GSA before government bodies and agencies and communicated to the media and the general public.

For example, in 2006, the GSA adopted the Position Statement Global Climate Change:
The Geological Society of America (GSA) supports the scientific conclusions that Earth’s climate is changing; the climate changes are due in part to human activities; and the probable consequences of the climate changes will be significant and blind to geopolitical boundaries. Furthermore, the potential implications of global climate change and the time scale over which such changes will likely occur require active, effective, long-term planning.
Current predictions of the consequences of global climate change include: (1) rising sea level
Current sea level rise
Current sea level rise potentially impacts human populations and the wider natural environment . Global average sea level rose at an average rate of around 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003 and at an average rate of about 3.1 mm per year from 1993 to 2003...

, (2) significant alteration of global and regional climatic patterns with an impact on water availability, (3) fundamental changes in global temperature distribution, (4) melting of polar ice
Arctic shrinkage
Ongoing changes in the climate of the Arctic include rising temperatures, loss of sea ice, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Projections of sea ice loss suggest that the Arctic ocean will likely be free of summer sea ice sometime between 2060 and 2080, while another estimate puts this date at...

, and (5) major changes in the distribution of plant and animal species. While the precise magnitude and rate of climate change cannot be predicted with absolute certainty, significant change will affect the planet and stress its inhabitants.

Past presidents


According to the GSA website, past presidents include:
  • James Hall
    James Hall (paleontologist)
    James Hall was an American geologist and paleontologist. He was a noted authority on stratigraphy and had an influential role in the development of American paleontology.-Early life:...

     1889
  • James D. Dana 1890
  • Alexander Winchell 1891
  • G. K. Gilbert 1892
  • J. William Dawson 1893
  • Thomas C. Chamberlin 1894
  • Nathanial S. Shaler
    Nathaniel Shaler
    Nathaniel Southgate Shaler was an American paleontologist and geologist who wrote extensively on the theological and scientific implications of the theory of evolution.-Biography:...

     1895
  • Joseph Le Conte 1896
  • Edward Orton, Sr.
    Edward Orton, Sr.
    Edward Francis Baxter Orton, Sr. , a Harvard educated geologist, was the first President of The Ohio State University....

     1897
  • J. J. Stevenson 1898
  • Benjamin K. Emerson
    Benjamin Kendall Emerson
    Benjamin Kendall Emerson was an American geologist and author.-Biography:Emerson graduated from Amherst College in 1865. He went on to study in Germany at the University of Berlin, and received his doctorate from the University of Göttingen in 1870...

     1899
  • George Mercer Dawson
    George Mercer Dawson
    Dr. George Mercer Dawson F.R.S., C.M.G., was a Canadian scientist and surveyor. He was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, the eldest son of Sir John William Dawson, Principal of McGill University and his wife, Lady Margaret Dawson...

     1900
  • M. King Hubbert
    M. King Hubbert
    Marion King Hubbert was a geoscientist who worked at the Shell research lab in Houston, Texas. He made several important contributions to geology, geophysics, and petroleum geology, most notably the Hubbert curve and Hubbert peak theory , with important political ramifications. He was often...

     1962
  • Harry H. Hess 1963
  • Francis Birch
    Francis Birch
    Francis Birch may refer to:* Francis Birch , British cryptographer* Francis Birch , American geophysicist...

     1964
  • Wilmot H. Bradley 1965
  • Robert Ferguson Legget 1966
  • Konrad B. Krauskopf 1967
  • Leon T. Silver
    Leon Silver
    Leon Theodore "Lee" Silver . Professor of Geology at California Institute of Technology , was an instructor to the Apollo 13, 15, 16, and 17 astronaut crews...

     1979
  • Eldridge M. Moores
    Eldridge M. Moores
    Eldridge Moores is an American geologist who specializes in the understanding of ophiolites and the geology of the continental crust of the Western United States and Tethyan belt, the geology of Greece, Cyprus, and Pakistan, and the tectonic development of the Sierra Nevada...

     1996
  • George A. Thompson
    George A. Thompson
    George A. Thompson was an American inventor and businessman who held many patents in the pumping industry and is credited with the invention of the rotary pump. His many inventions and pioneering spirit led to the creation of Thompson Pump & Manufacturing company.-History:George A. Thompson was...

     1997
  • Victor R. Baker 1998
  • Gail M. Ashley 1999
  • Mary Lou Zoback
    Mary Lou Zoback
    Mary Lou Zoback is an American geophysicist who led the World Stress Map Project of the International Lithosphere Program.-Career:Zoback attended Stanford University, receiving her B.S. in 1974, M.S. in 1975, and Ph.D. in 1978. She did a Post-Doctoral program with the National Research Council...

     2000
  • Sharon Mosher 2001
  • Anthony J. Naldrett
    Anthony J. Naldrett
    Anthony James "Tony" Naldrett, FRSC is a Canadian geologist. He is an authority on the geology and origin of nickel-copper-platinum group element deposits, the tectonic setting in which they occur, the petrology of associated rocks, and controls on their composition...

     2002
  • B. Clark Burchfiel
    B. Clark Burchfiel
    Burrell Clark Burchfiel is an American structural geologist. Born in Stockton, California, he earned his Ph.D. in 1961 at Yale University. His first academic appointment was to the Geology department at Rice University. He is presently the Schlumberger Professor of Geology at MIT...

     2003
  • Rob Van der Voo 2004
  • William A. Thomas 2005
  • Stephen G. Wells 2006
  • John M. "Jack" Sharp, Jr. 2007

See also

  • American Geophysical Union
    American Geophysical Union
    The American Geophysical Union is a nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting of over 50,000 members from over 135 countries. AGU's activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of geophysics...

  • Penrose Medal
    Penrose Medal
    The Penrose Medal was created in 1927 by R.A.F. Penrose, Jr. as the top prize awarded by the Geological Society of America to those who advance the study of geoscience.-Award winners:* 2011 Paul F. Hoffman* 2010 Eric J. Essene* 2009 B. Clark Burchfiel...

  • Arthur L. Day Medal
    Arthur L. Day Medal
    The Arthur L. Day Medal is a prize awarded by the Geological Society of America, established in 1948 by Arthur Louis Day for "outstanding distinction in contributing to geologic knowledge through the application of physics and chemistry to the solution of geologic problems"....

  • Meinzer Award
    Meinzer Award
    The O.E. Meinzer Award is the annual award of the Hydrogeology Division of the Geological Society of America. It is named after Oscar Edward Meinzer who has been called the "father of modern groundwater hydrology"...

  • Kirk Bryan Award
    Kirk Bryan Award
    The Kirk Bryan Award is the annual award of the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America. It is named after Kirk Bryan a pioneer in geomorphology of arid regions...


External links