A Brief History of the Carolina Geological Society

(A full history of the Carolina Geological Society 1937-1987 can be found by clicking here)

The Carolina Geological Society was founded in 1937 by Wilbur C. Holland of the Department of Geology at Furman University. In April of that year, he sent a questionnaire to at least 50 people in education, government and industry in which he asked opinions about the formation of an organization to promote interest in geology in the Carolinas. Thirty-four responded favorably. On May 15th, 1937 an organizational meeting was held at Furman University. Many of the current practices of the Society were formulated at that meeting.

As first proposed by Holland, the format of the meetings of the Society would be a half day devoted to the presentation of papers and an afternoon session devoted to a field trip. The concept of formal presentations was dropped in favor of a field trip and informal discussions. The fall was selected as the best time for the annual meeting. The second meeting was held in Chapel Hill the following November. Since that time a meeting has been held once a year except for the war years of 42-45.

The purpose of the Society as envisioned by the founders is to (1) promote the geosciences, (2) encourage the study of earth sciences, (3) promote a spirit of friendship and cooperation among the members, (4) encourage research in the earth sciences and (5) encourage publication of research results.

Perhaps the most tangible purpose of the Society has been to encourage publication. Of the 70 meetings held through 2009, all but 13 have formal guidebooks (see guidebooks section). The guidebooks range from a single author with a few mimeographed pages to the Savannah River Site guidebook of 2000 with 339 pages containing 18 articles by 37 authors.

In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Society, the Board of Directors decided that a book should be compiled on the geology of the Carolinas. Wright Horton and Victor Zullo agreed to co-edit the book. Steve Conrad and Ole Olson (as State Geologists of North and South Carolina) played a large role in raising over $10,000 from various corporations and individuals in the two states to be applied toward publication costs. In addition, the membership contributed $1000. After many delays waiting for manuscripts, the book was published in 1991 by the University of Tennessee Press. The 406 page volume contains 19 articles authored by 43 persons on just about every phase of the geology of the Carolinas.

\The annual field trips have examined the geology in every region of the Carolinas with short excursions into Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. The field trips have in most cases presented the results of original research. Many of these trips have been used to introduce and test new geological concepts. Changes in concepts and terminology can be promoted on the outcrop where the evidence is available for all to see.

After a lawsuit that arose out of a misunderstanding on motel rooms for the 1982 meeting, the membership instructed the Secretary in 1984 to take the necessary steps for incorporation as well as tax exemption. The organizational meeting of the Carolina Geological Society, Inc.  was held in Cheraw, SC on April 13, 1985, where the proposed by-laws were adopted. The Society is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of seven members. The Officers of the Society include a President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer.