GSA home

Log In | GSA Community | GSA Store | Join GSA | Donate | Contact Us

GSA home

| GSA Community | GSA Store | Donate | Contact Us

About GSA

Career Resources

Connected Community

Divisions &
Associated Societies

Education & Outreach

GSA Foundation

GSA International




Public Policy



Find Your Science at GSA
GSA Books Guidelines
Book Proposal and Manuscript Submission
Suggestions to Organizers
Publication Costs
Supplemental Material
Contact Information
Ethical Guidelines
Open Access

GSA Books

Manuscript Preparation

These guidelines are for authors preparing manuscripts to be published in the GSA Special Paper, Memoir, Field Guide, and the Reviews in Engineering Geology series.

The books these guidelines apply to are all printed in an 8½ x 11 inch (21.6 x 27.9 cm) format with two columns of text per page.


1. Abstract
2. Body of text (include footnotes and references
    to figures and tables in appropriate places)

3. Acknowledgments
4. Appendixes
5. References Cited
6. Figure Captions
7. Style


The abstract should present information and results in capsule form and should be brief and objective, containing within a 250-word maximum the content and conclusions of the paper. The topic sentence should give the overall scope and should be followed by emphasis on new information. Omit references, criticisms, drawings, and diagrams.

 Body of the Text

Authors must provide an electronic file for each manuscript in Microsoft Word (PC or Macintosh). If you are using a different word-processing program, please contact us for instructions.

All headings of different ranks should be typed using uppercase and/or lowercase letters as shown below.

Title of chapter
First word begins with uppercase letter; all other words begin with lowercase letters, except for proper nouns; boldface and italic, centered on page
First-level subhead
(flush left; one line space above and below)
Second-level subhead
Bold, Initial Caps
(flush left; one line space above and below)
Third-level subhead
Bold, Italic, Initial Caps
(flush left; one line space above, none below)
Fourth-level subhead
Bold, italic, sentence capitalization.
(indented; run into text, with a period)
Fifth-level subhead
Italic, sentence capitalization.
(indented; run into text, with a period)


Avoid footnotes and parenthetical statements. Textual footnotes that are deemed necessary should be numbered consecutively with superscripts.


The Appendix is optional and contains brief descriptions of methods, laboratory techniques, and other supplementary information. Title all appendixes (for example, APPENDIX 1. SAMPLE DESCRIPTIONS); number appendixes only if there are two or more. Place appendixes at the end of the text before the References Cited. Tables and figures within the Appendix should be numbered separately from the text (e.g., Figure A1, Figure A2, Table A1, etc.).

 References Cited

All references mentioned in the text, figures, captions, tables, and appendixes must be listed in the References Cited section.

Click here for a printable reference guide with examples.

 Figure Captions

Make captions precise and explain all symbols and abbreviations used. Type captions in consecutive order at the end of the manuscript. (They should not be typed on the same sheet as the figures or within the body of text.) If an object such as a hammer or lens cap appears in a figure for scale, please list the size of the object in the caption (e.g., "Lens cap for scale, 55 mm.").

Style and Manuscript Outline

Writing, Spelling, Capitalization, etc.
Authors are responsible for providing manuscripts in which approved geological and other scientific terminology is used correctly and which have no grammatical or spelling errors. Authors must check their manuscripts for accuracy and consistency in use of capitalization, spelling, abbreviations, and dates. GSA copy editors will change spelling to American preferences. Spell out geologic or geographic features rather than using acronyms. You may elect to have a peer, freelance editor, or English editing service look over your project prior to submission; a list of resources is available here.

Suggested Resources

The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press,
Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey, seventh edition (available at
Glossary of Geology, American Geosciences Institute,
Geowriting, American Geosciences Institute,
North American Stratigraphic Code, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin (v. 89, no. 11, p. 1547-1591, November 2005; more information:
Mathematics into Type, by Ellen Swanson, updated edition, American Mathematical Society,

Units of Measure
Use the International System of units (metric) in captions, illustrations, and text. Measurements in feet are allowed in some circumstances, such as elevation measurements that correlate to topographic maps. In such cases, authors must provide metric equivalents in parentheses.

Mathematical Expressions
All variables (except vectors) should be italicized. Define your use of symbols in the text the first time each appears. Equations should be set off from the rest of the text by line spaces above and below. Equations should be numbered sequentially; the numbers should be enclosed in parentheses and set to the right of the equations.

What should authors include with each new submission?

  1. One copy of the manuscript, including all figures and tables, printed on one or both sides of the paper; A4 paper is acceptable.
  2. A CD-ROM that includes electronic files of all hard-copy material. The preferred formats for figures are Adobe Illustrator, Canvas, Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw, and Freehand. Each file should be labeled with the author's last name and figure number, with the proper program extension attached. Please follow the guidelines for Figures.