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Find Your Science at GSA
2 December 2009
GSA Release No. 09-64
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
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Geological Society of America honors service to the Society and to society for 2009

GSA Distinguished Service Award and
GSA Public Service Award

Boulder, CO, USA - Awards recognizing outstanding service in pursuit of the mission and goals of The Geological Society of America (GSA) were presented at the Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 17 October 2009, during the Society’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Karl E. Karlstrom, professor of geology at the University of New Mexico, was honored with the GSA Distinguished Service Award for 2009, for his exceptional and longtime service on behalf of GSA publications. Karlstrom served as editor of GSA Today from 2000 to 2003, editor of GSA Bulletin from 2005 to 2008, and served on the editorial board of Geology from 1988 to 1991. Karlstrom was recognized for his leadership in upholding GSA’s reputation as a premier provider of geoscience information.

“Under his guidance, the monthly GSA Today science article routinely became the paper with the most hits on the GSA Website,” said J. Brendan Murphy, of St. Francis Xavier University, in citing Karlstrom for this award. Karlstrom sought groundbreaking articles for the member news journal that represented the breadth and depth of geoscience. In addition, articles often dealt with hot topics or controversies, were illustrated with outstanding graphics, and were relevant to a broad international readership. Many professors use these articles in their graduate and undergraduate classes.

Karlstrom worked tirelessly to maintain the international stature of GSA Bulletin and helped to shape its niche as a prime outlet for high-impact, data-rich, archival papers. GSA Bulletin’s impact factor rose steadily during his tenure, and online delivery reduced publication lag time. He helped the journal to evolve and improve, paving the way for GSA’s new journals, Geosphere and Lithosphere.

Read Karlstrom’s complete citation and response at

Bruce F. Molnia of the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia, received the 2009 GSA Public Service Award for enhancing public understanding of the earth sciences. This award, established in 1998, is given in honor of Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker.

“Molnia’s work is known to many American laypeople, even if they don’t know his name, because of his superb photo documentation of Alaska’s receding glaciers,” said John F. Shroder, Jr., of the University of Nebraska–Omaha, in citing Molnia for this award. “These photos have been shown in many places, including the 2005 Smithsonian magazine article, Baked Alaska.” As writer Laura Hemuth noted, Molnia’s “pictures may be less precise than satellite analyses, [and] GPS studies… But his before-and-after photographs offer perhaps the most vivid evidence that Alaska’s glaciers are indeed melting.”

Molnia’s Glaciers of Alaska, from the Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World (U.S. Geological Survey professional paper, 1386-K), documents technical details of the dramatic change in the ice of the northernmost U.S. state.

Molnia’s wide-ranging public service over the past three decades includes more than just Alaskan glaciers. As “Forum” editor for GSA Today, he wrote more than 100 monthly columns. He has been the USGS Chief of International Programs and worked on international nuclear issues in the Arctic and Russian Far East. He served as science coordinator for a Japan-Russia-U.S. study group on nuclear waste dumping. Molnia also served as a Senior Legislative Fellow in the office of Congressman Curt Weldon from 1999 to 2003, operating a caucus on ocean-policy issues.

His work on environmental issues, oceans, and glaciers reflects his consuming interest in serving the public with the best geoscience information.

Read Molnia’s complete citation and response at