2004 RMAG Journalism Award

Breaking with a long-standing tradition, the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG), for the first time, presents its 2004 Journalism Award to an organization instead of a single individual; and that is, to the Colorado Geological Survey. The Survey is recognized for its long history of outstanding achievements in producing educational and highly informative publications for the purpose of increasing public understanding and awareness of the geology and mineral resources of the State of Colorado. This citation was inspired by a recent publication that goes well beyond the Survey’s statutory obligation and presents the geology of Colorado in a manner that appeals to an extremely broad public audience.

The Colorado Geological Survey began its long history of disseminating information to the public in 1909 with the publication of the First Report, 1908 – a bulletin-style volume summarizing mineral resources in the Main Tungsten Area of Boulder County and the Montezuma mining District of Summit County, as well as the geology of the Foothills Formation of Northern Colorado and the Hahns Peak Region in Routt County. In the nearly 100 years that have passed since that initial report, the Survey has issued more than 700 publications on such diverse topics as avalanche hazards, coal resources, earthquake activity, fossil occurrences, engineering geology, land use review, environmental geology, water resources, gas and oil resources, general geology, geologic hazards, geothermal resources, mineral resources, swelling soils and heaving bedrock.

The Survey utilizes a wide range of formats and venues to promote public access to their work. In addition to the traditional paper-based format for reports, large-scale maps and cross sections, the Survey also embraces the ever popular CD-ROM technology for distribution of data-intensive studies, all of which are easily accessed by the public via its bookstore website. The Survey currently provides its annual Mineral and Mineral Fuel Activity Report and its quarterly RockTalk newsletter as free downloads from the website, as well as mailing over 15,000 printed copies free-of-­charge each quarter. The Survey also utilizes venues such as the Colorado State Fair, the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, professional and trade organization conferences, as well as luncheon talks to inform the public of its activities and availability of publications.

One particular publication stands out as a significant tribute to the remarkable State of Colorado and the efforts of the Survey’s geoscientists to unravel the mysteries of our complex geologic history, entitled Messages in Stone (Special Publication 52, 2003). This masterful compilation of text and illustrative photography brings the colorful geology of Colorado alive for all audiences regardless of age or background. This outstanding volume was edited by Vincent Matthews, (now State Geologist), Katie KellerLynn, and Betty Fox. Representing a group effort, contributing authors include (in alphabetical order) James Cappa, Gary Curtiss, Tom Hemborg, John Keller, Katie KellerLynn, Susan Landon, Vincent Matthews, Matt Morgan, David Noe, Pat Rogers, Matthew Sares, Beth Widmann, Laura Wray, and Knox Williams.

The Colorado Geologic Survey’s long-standing dedication to educating the public about the geology and mineral resources of the state provides an invaluable service not only to the citizens and policymakers of Colorado, but also provides immeasurable benefit to our neighboring states in the Rocky Mountain region. For this, the RMAG is pleased to recognize the Colorado Geological Survey with its Journalism Award.