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Mark your calendar for upcoming meetings:

  • 13 April 2016
  • 14 September 2016
  • 5 October 2016
  • 26 October 2016
  • 9 November 2016
  • 7 December 2016
  • 4 January 2017

Previous meeting programs and minutes, 1893-


Report of survey of membership from Spring 2016 (PDF)

Fall field trips:

Tony Fleming will lead two trips the weekend of October 8-10.

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Option #1: Saturday, October 8, will be a hike along Holmes Run in the Ford Nature Center, Alexandria. See flyer at this link for more details.

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Option #2: Monday (a federal holiday), October 10 Geologic Field Trip – Alexandria, VA & Vicinity

Date & time: Monday, October 10, 2016, 9 AM - ?
Leader: Tony Fleming, author of the 2016 Geologic Atlas of Alexandria, VA
Who: geologists, geotechnical engineers, building and planning staff, environmental professionals
Meeting Place: Ford Nature Center, 5750 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22311

Overview: Alexandria features a strongly dissected fall line landscape with some of the most varied geology and topography in the Potomac Valley, ranging from complexly deformed crystalline bedrock of the Piedmont in the west to many steep, active hillsides developed on the eastward-thickening wedge of early Cretaceous Potomac Formation further east, along with a host of upland and lowland river terraces, debris fans, and associated hillside deposits. This trip will highlight a variety of geologic features and scientific problems of local and regional interest to geologists and geotechnical engineers working in the greater mid-Atlantic region.

Stops and topics featured on the trip include:
- Structure of the Paleozoic bedrock and the nature of the regionally significant erosional unconformity on the bedrock surface, which appears to have unusually high local relief at places in the City.

- The character, facies relations, deformation, hydrogeology, and geotechnical properties of the early Cretaceous Potomac Formation as seen at its updip end. The Potomac Formation is well exposed throughout the highlands in the western two thirds of the city and will be a major focus of the trip because of its geomorphic, hydrogeologic and geotechnical significance. We will see good examples of the informal members defined in the atlas, as well as the major aquifer system it hosts, and for which western Alexandria is part of the regional recharge area.

- Nature and evolution of the landscape from the late Tertiary through Recent. The City contains more and larger river terraces than most other parts of northern Virginia, including several widespread “upland” gravels whose ages remain poorly defined yet are of fundamental importance to our understanding of issues like seismic risk and incision history of the landscape;

- Tectonics, faults, and modern seismic hazards. Ample evidence indicates that comparatively young fault zones project into the City from both the north (DC/Rock Creek fault system) and the south (Stafford fault system), but defining and mapping their locations with a reasonable degree of precision in this heavily urbanized area is a real challenge. We will visit some of the localities where faults have been documented or are strongly suspected, and revisit subsurface data presented in the atlas for some of these “suspect” places.

Alexandria contains all of these features within a compact area, which will greatly reduce travel time between stops and allow for maximum time in the field. In addition to illustrating the strata and features depicted in the city atlas, the intent of the trip is to stimulate lively discussion among this group of regional experts and professionals. I look forward to your participation.

Please contact the field trip leader ( if you plan to attend or have any questions, and feel free to forward this announcement to colleagues who may be interested in the outing.

Past GSW Field Trips


The 1510th meeting of the Society will be on
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
featuring :

REBECCA FISCHER, National Museum of Natural History
The composition of the Earth’s core from experiments and
30 minutes

COLIN JACKSON, Carnegie Institution for Science
Tracing atmosphere-mantle interactions with noble gases.
30 minutes


Meeting flyer for posting

Refreshments at 7:30 PM; Formal program at 8:00 PM
John Wesley Powell Auditorium, 2170 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC
(see below for directions)



Information about the Society

The Geological Society of Washington (GSW) was founded in 1893 to promote the increase and dissemination of geological knowledge. GSW provides a forum for geological interchange through a program of regularly scheduled formal talks, informal communications, opportunities to meet colleagues, field trips, and public service. Members represent a wide cross-section of the local geologic community including geoscientists from federal (U.S.Geological Survey, NASA, NSF, military, DOE, EPA) and state government, Congress, Carnegie Institution of Washington, local universities, museums, consulting firms, earth science educators, and others interested in the geological sciences. Guests are welcome.

List of Officers and Committee Chairs
Articles of Incorporation (revised Dec. 2014) and Bylaws (revised Sept. 2015)
Directions to Meeting Location (PDF; also available in Word format)

Membership: $40/year ($15 for students)

Membership Application Form available in Word or PDF form to print and mail)

Membership Renewal Form available in Word or PDF form to print and mail)

For further information and inquiries about address changes or your membership status, please call, send mail, or e-mail to:

J. A. Speer
Geological Society of Washington
3635 Concorde Pkwy Suite 500
Chantilly, VA 20151-1125
(703) 652-9950


GSW is on: Twitter Facebook Wikipedia

Speaker Suggestions and Queries: 2015 Program Committee chair: Nick Geboy

GSW Historical Documents

Search the GSW archives, including meeting minutes (Google search):


Search the GSW databases:

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text in title
List of
Best Papers

List of
Presidential Addresses

Browse the GSW minutes:

An archive of Secretary's minutes back to the late 1940s is available here.

Anniversary speeches:

Speech by T. W. Stanton on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of GSW in 1943.

Speech by Hugh D. Miser on the occasion of the 800th meeting of GSW in 1959.

GSW founders:

A list of the Founders of GSW is available here.


The Centennial History of the Geological Society of Washington tells about the history of Earth Sciences in Washington, D.C. as well as the development new ideas in earth science and the evolution of the U.S. Geological Survey. The 165-page paperback volume contains stories about the intellectual and social life of scientists in Washington, and about the good-natured banter that has always characterized GSW meetings. As one reviewer put it, " Bonhomie has been a feature of the Society". A former Chief geologist of the USGS said, "The best $10 I ever spent!". The price is still $10, and the book can be purchased from:

Geological Society of Washington
3635 Concorde Pkwy Suite 500
Chantilly, VA 20151-1125 
Order by phone: (703) 652-9950

Payment must be prepaid by check (in US dollars drawn on US bank) or money order payable to the Geological Society of Washington (TIN 52-6049239). GSW cannot be responsible for cash sent through the mail. Cost includes postage by surface or book rate. Publications may not be returned for refund or credit. Damaged books will be replaced.


Past Presidents Dinner Before the 2009 Annual Meeting
GSW past presidents at the 2009 dinner
Presidents past (and one future) gathered for dinner before the annual meeting to fete the evening's speaker, current GSW President Bill Burton, hours before he joined their ranks. From left: incoming president Jay Kaufman, John Slack, Dave Stewart, Peter Lyttle, Jane Hammarstrom, Rich Walker, Roz Helz, George Helz, about-to-be-past president Burton, Dave Applegate, Doug Rankin, Nick Woodward, Doug Rumble, Dick Fiske, and Brooks Hanson. Photo by Mary Horan. Click on image for larger version.

Virginia Museum of Natural History field trips: For more information, visit this link.

For information on past GSW field trips, see this page.


Volunteers are needed to lead occasional geology walks for the public out of the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Walks are usually held on Saturday mornings of your choice. If interested, please contact Margo Kingston, USGS Retired, at home (301) 657-8818 or USGS (703) 648-6369. The home email address is preferred.


U.S. Geological Survey Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program. The Mendenhall Program provides opportunities to conduct research in association with selected members of the USGS professional staff. Opportunities for research are available in a wide range of topics. The postdoctoral fellowships are 2-year appointments. Research opportunities are typically announced in July.  Application closing date is in the November-December window. Offers are typically made during February. Appointments will start the following October or later, depending on availability of funds. The program contact is: Dr. Rama K. Kotra,, 703-648-6271.  A description of the program, current or recent research projects or opportunities, and the application process are available at The USGS is an equal opportunity employer.

GSW maintains a roster of potential employers in the fields of geology, geophysics, and associated disciplines in the Washington, D.C. area. To add to this list or announce specific job/post-doc opportunities in our area , contact the GSW webmaster: Callan Bentley.

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) and EARTH magazine list available jobs that may be of interest to the earth science community. The American Geological Institute's Geoscience Careers Site has links to job postings and other career-related information.

Other Geoscience Talks in the Area

The DC Geology Events blog has links to a long list of places where geology happens in D.C.

The Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) Baltimore-Washington-Harrisburg Section holds monthly meetings with dinner and a speaker.

The Potomac Geophysical Society meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month from September through May for dinner and a presentation.

The Paleontological Society of Washington usually meets on the third Wednesday of each month, from September though May, for dinner and a talk in the Cooper Room of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington holds public Capital Science Lectures, and both the Geophysical Laboratory and Department of Terrestrial Magnetism hold regular seminars.

A weekly seminar series is held at the University of Maryland Department of Geology.

A weekly seminar series is held at the George Mason University Geology program.

Both the Department of Mineral Sciences and Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History hold series of monthly seminars on a variety of earth science subjects.

The Society for Mining Metallurgy and Exploration holds monthly talks between September and May.

GSW is a founding society (1898) of the Washington Academy of Sciences, which maintains a calendar of meetings of its 60 member organizations.

In addition, several other area universities and organizations hold geoscience talks. ** If calendars for any of these are available on the web, please let us know and we can add them to this list. **

The Geological Society of Washington thanks the American Geological Institute for providing web hosting.

Please send any comments or questions about this web site to GSW Webmaster Callan Bentley.

Updated April 2, 2016.