Mineralogical Society of America, Founded December 30, 1919

About MSA

Revised 04/22/2022

The Mineralogical Society of America (MSA)

was founded in 1919 for the advancement of mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, petrology, and promotion of their uses in other sciences, industry, and the arts. It encourages fundamental research about natural materials; supports the teaching of mineralogical concepts and procedures; and attempts to raise the scientific literacy of society with respect to issues involving mineralogy in the widest sense. The Society encourages the preservation of mineral collections, displays, mineral localities, type minerals and scientific data. MSA represents the United States internationally with regard to the science of mineralogy.

To accomplish its goals, the Society publishes journals, magazines, and books, as well as uses short courses, lectureships, Internet website, awards, grants, symposia, and meetings for professionals, students, and the public. MSA depends on the involvement of all individuals who are concerned with the health and direction of the field of mineralogy. MSA supports and champions efforts by individuals and organizations to foster a climate of inclusion, diversity, and acceptance in the sciences and in the wider public. The Society cooperates with other scientific and organizations, and continually explores and adopts new programs and policies to better serve its members.

2021 Annual Report

MSA turned 102 in 2021!

Read about MSA's Awardees, Grantees, Programs, Publications and Highlights in the:

2021 Annual Report


American Mineralogist

American Mineralogist, subtitled An International Journal of Earth and Planetary Materials, is the print journal of the Society, and it has continuously appeared since 1916. It publishes the results of original scientific research in the fields of mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, and petrology with the goal of providing readers with the best in earth science research.

Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry

A series of multi-authored, soft-bound books containing cogent and concise reviews of the literature and advances about a subject area. There are 84 volumes published since 1974.


Single or limited authored, instructional textbooks.


A full-color magazine first published in January 2005, Elements is the official newsletter of the society. Published bimonthly, each issue also contains several thematic scientific articles written for a broad audience.

Handbook of Mineralogy

A definitive modern source for data on all mineral species. The authors of the Handbook, John W. Anthony, Richard A. Bideaux, Kenneth W. Bladh and Monte C. Nichols have made the volumes and full text of the 5-volume available to MSA to keep updated and available in print and electronic forms.

Short Courses

2-4 day, in-depth instructional courses, usually given in conjunction with major meetings. They are taught by several invited speakers who also write the accompanying Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry volume. There have been 58 courses since 1974.


Workshops are half to full day instructional course on focused topics or techniques. Workshops generally do not result in a publication available after the course.

Distinguished Lecturer Program

MSA offers schools that normally do not have the opportunity to hear talks about recent advances in mineralogy the choice among several topics offered by distinguished Lecturers. MSA pays travel expenses of the Lecturers and the host institution is responsible for local expenses, including accommodation and meals. Each year MSA Lecturers visit about 30 colleges and universities world-wide.

Research Grants

Three $5000 grants for research are given each year for research in crystallography and in mineralogy/petrology. There is one crystallography grant from the E. H. Kraus Crystallographic Research Fund; and two mineralogy and petrology grants from the MSA Min/Pet Fund. Selection for all grants is based on the qualifications of the applicant, the quality, innovativeness, and scientific significance of the research, and the likelihood of success of the project. The crystallography grant has an age limitation of 25-36 years, and the mineralogy/petrology grant is limited to students.

Meetings, Symposia and Special Sessions

MSA sponsors or co-sponsors a variety of international and national meetings as well as symposia, special, and theme sessions at meetings.

Special Interest Groups

MSA's special interest groups are comprised of individuals who have informally joined together to organize review volumes, meetings, workshops, etc. There are Special Interest Groups for

Planetary Materials


As the representative Society for the profession, the Mineralogical Society of America recognizes outstanding contributors to the fields of mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, and petrology. Society awards do not require MSA membership or United States citizenship.

Roebling Medal

First awarded in 1937, the Roebling Medal is the Society's highest honor. It is given in recognition of an individual's lifetime scientific eminence as represented primarily by publication of outstanding original research in mineralogy. The recipient is made a life fellow of the Society and receives a gold medal engraved with their name and the resemblance of Washington A. Roebling. Washington Roebling was Chief Engineer during construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, a mineral collector, and a significant friend of the Society in its early years. Roebling gave the society a gift of $40,000 in bonds which became the Roebling Fund and has grown to over $1.5 million.

Distinguished Public Service Medal

This award is presented to an individual who has provided outstanding contributions to public policy and awareness about mineralogical topics in the widest sense. Established in 1990, the award is a silver medal with the logo of the Society and vignettes of the application of mineralogy to the general good.

Mineralogical Society of America Award

This is an award for an outstanding single or series of published contributions in the areas of mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, petrology, or related fields. The award is meant to recognize a scientist beginning their career. The recognized research must have been performed prior to the recipient's 35th birthday, or prior to the seventh year past Ph.D., and the award given no more than two years afterwards. The award is a certificate and Life Fellow membership.

Mineralogical Society of America Dana Medal

This award is intended to recognize sustained outstanding scientific contributions through original research in the mineralogical sciences by an individual in the midst of his or her career who has not been previously recognized [for his/her achievements-remove] as a recipient of the MSA Award. For the purpose of this award, the mineralogical sciences are defined in the broadest sense. A Dana Award candidate should have received his or her terminal degree no more than 25 years prior to January 1st of the year in which the medalist is selected. Service to mineralogy, administrative accomplishments, and teaching are not to be considered primary merit for the award. Nationality, age of candidate, or place of employment shall not be considered. First awarded in 2001, the recipient of the Dana Medal receives a bronze medal and gives a scientific lecture at a meeting which can be published in American Mineralogist.

MSA Undergraduate Prizes

The Society recognizes outstanding undergraduate students in mineralogical courses with a certificate, an MSA publication of their choice, and a student membership. Students may be nominated from departments offering at least one course in crystallography, mineralogy, or petrology by a member or fellow of the Society.



Membership in the Society is open to any person interested in mineralogy and related sciences regardless of residence or citizenship. Individuals from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and about 40 countries belong to the Society, giving it and its publications an international aspect.

The membership of the Society comprises Honorary Fellows, Fellows, Members, Early Career, Students, Senior Fellows and Members, and Sustaining Fellows and Members. All members are eligible to participate in Society affairs.

* Members are individuals interested in mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, petrology, or allied sciences who file the application and pay dues.

* Early Career Members are individuals interested in mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, petrology, or allied sciences who are up to 3 years beyond being student, file the application, and pay reduced dues.

* Student members are individuals interested in mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, petrology, or related sciences, filed an application, have paid dues, and who are certified as bona fide students for the current year by a faculty member of the school of their enrollment. They enjoy all privileges of membership except that they are ineligible to hold Society office.

* Fellows are members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, petrology, or allied sciences and whose scientific contribution utilized mineralogical studies or data, been accredited by the Committee on Nomination for Fellows, and elected by the Council. Recipients of the Roebling Medal and Mineralogical Society of America Award automatically become Fellows.

* Honorary Fellows are individuals highly distinguished for their attainments in mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, petrology, or allied sciences and selected by the Council.

* Sustaining Members or Fellows are individual members who wish to be identified as financially supporting the society and its programs on a continuing basis.

* Senior Members or Fellows have reached the age of sixty-five, retired from active professional employment, paid annual dues for thirty years and requested that they become Senior Fellows or Senior Members. They are exempt from further payment of dues but retain all rights and privileges of membership.

* Life Members and Fellows are exempt from further payment of dues and continue to receive American Mineralogist and other Society Benefits because they are recipients of the Roebling Medal or Mineralogical Society of America Award, or have paid a lump sum equivalent to 25 times the annual dues + subscription.


The Society is a scientific membership organization, founded in 1919, incorporated in 1937, and approved as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 1959.

Officers and Council

The MSA Council, comprising the President, Past-President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and six Councilors elected from the membership, govern MSA according to its Bylaws. The President, Past-President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer form the Executive Committee to govern the Society when Council is not in session.

The President and Vice-President are elected annually for one-year terms. The Secretary and Treasurer are elected biennially, in alternative years, for terms of two years. Two Councilors are elected each year and serve a three-year term. The President, the Vice-President, and the elected Councilors are limited to one term in each office. The Secretary and the Treasurer are eligible for election to no more than two terms in either office.

The Council meets three times in a year. The first meeting is generally held during the Fall MSA/GSA Annual Meeting. The second meeting is held in the Spring. The third meeting is held just prior to the MSA/GSA Annual Meeting the following Fall.

To be nominated for elected office, an individual must be a member or fellow of the Society. Individuals nominated for the position of President, Vice-President, Secretary, or Treasurer must have been members of the Society for five consecutive years preceding nomination.

A ballot listing the slate of candidates for each office is sent to all members with ballots due back to the Business Office by August 1. Officers-elect are announced at the Third Council meeting and assume office during the First Council meeting of the their term in office.


While the Council is the decision-making body of the Society, items needing investigation, discussion and a range of possible recommendations for decision are usually handled by committees. According to the Bylaws, standing committees of the Society are the Financial Advisory and Audit Committee, the Committee on Management, the Nominating Committee for Officers and Council, and the Nominating Committee for Fellows. There are also committees on the Roebling Medal, MSA Award, Kraus Research Grant, Mineralogy/Petrology Student Research Grant, Public Service Award, Dana Medal, Lecture Program, Publications, Meetings, Short Courses, Benefactor, Arts Council, and Outreach.

All members of the Society are eligible to serve on a committee. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact the Business Office or the Chair of the Committee on Committees. The name of each committee chair is available on the MSA website should a member wish to bring an item up for consideration by the committee. Generally, committees that nominate individuals for awards, fellowship, or office report to the Council at the Third meeting in the Fall. Other committees regularly make reports at any or all of the Council meetings.

Annual Meeting

The MSA Annual Business Meeting with the members, as well as award and social functions of the Society, are held in conjunction with the Fall Geological Society of America meeting.


Each MSA publication or program is headed by a volunteer member Editor, Coordinator, or Administrator. Offices, committees, and editorial boards are also occupied by member volunteers. There is full-time staff at the headquarters office in Washington, DC. The Editorial Office of the American Mineralogist has 2 full-time staff members. The Society Business Office has a full-time staff of 3 and part-time staff that changes in size depending on the seasonal workload.



For additional information on any MSA program, please visit the MSA website at www.minsocam.org, or contact

Mineralogical Society of America
3635 Concorde Pkwy Suite 500
Chantilly, VA 20151-1110
United States of America

Telephone: (703) 652-9950
Facsimile: (703) 652-9951
E-mail: business@minsocam.org
Internet Site: www.minsocam.org

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