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Find Your Science at GSA
30 Aug 2011
GSA Release No. 11-55
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

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September 2011 GSA Today cover


Four science articles highlight geoscience of Upper Midwest in anticipation of GSA Annual Meeting

Boulder, CO, USA –As a prelude to The Geological Society of America’s 2011 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, the September issue of GSA Today departs from its normal format by publishing four short science articles intended to introduce different aspects of the geology of the Upper Midwest and the contemporary role of the geologist in society. Access them free online at

The theme of the 8–12 Oct. 2011 GSA Annual Meeting & Exposition is Archaean to Anthropocene: The past is the key to the future. Carrie Jennings of the Minnesota Geological Survey, vice chair of the Annual Meeting Organizing Committee, writes in her preface to this special issue that, in keeping with this theme, the four articles “emphasize the critical role geologists are being asked to play in a society that is increasingly focused on sustainable resource use and the long-term resilience of the planet.”

The first two articles introduce topics at opposite ends of the age spectrum. In the first, Seth Stein of Northwestern University and colleagues describe an EarthScope USArray project aimed at providing new constraints on the evolution of the 1.1 billion-year-old Mid-Continent Rift System of Minnesota. The second, by Karen B. Gran of the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics and colleagues, examines Holocene valley evolution following the catastrophic drainage of glacial Lake Agassiz and its bearing on the sediment load of the modern Minnesota River.

These are followed by two papers that speak to the role of geology in society. Kenneth R. Bradbury of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and Anthony C. Runkel of the Minnesota Geological Survey describe how the mechanical behavior of Paleozoic rocks affects groundwater flow in Minnesota and Wisconsin and its importance to sustainable groundwater use. The final paper, by Cathryn A. Manduca of Carleton College, calls for a collaborative approach to geoscience education and the need to produce a citizenry that understands the ways in which geology and society are linked.

Learning from failure: The SPREE Mid-Continent Rift Experiment
Seth Stein et al., Earth and Planetary Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA; doi: 10.1130/G120A.1, p. 5–7.

Landscape evolution in south-central Minnesota and the role of geomorphic history on modern erosional processes
Karen B. Gran et al., National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, 2 3rd Ave. SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414, USA, and Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, Minnesota 55812, USA; doi: 10.1130/G121A.1, p. 7–9.

Recent advances in the hydrostratigraphy of Paleozoic bedrock in the Midwestern United States
K.R. Bradbury, University of Wisconsin–Extension, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, 3817 Mineral Point Road, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, USA,; and A.C. Runkel, Minnesota Geological Survey, 2642 University Avenue W, St Paul, Minnesota 55114, USA; doi: 10.1130/G122A.1, p. 10–12.

Improving undergraduate geoscience education—A community endeavor
Cathryn A. Manduca, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota 55057, USA; doi: 10.1130/G123A.1, p. 12–14.

Peer-reviewed GSA TODAY articles are open access. Please discuss articles of interest with the authors before publishing stories on their work, and please make reference to GSA TODAY in articles published. Contact Christa Stratton for additional information or assistance.


GSA TODAY is The Geological Society of America's science and news magazine for members and other earth scientists. Refereed lead science articles present exciting new research or synthesize important issues in a format understandable to all in the earth science community. GSA Today also often features a refereed "Groundwork" article — tightly focused papers on issues of import to earth science policy, planning, funding, or education. All GSA Today articles are open access at