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The English geologist Martin Lister was quoted often in the early stages of the development of the Decade of North American Geology (DNAG) project. Some 300 years ago, Lister made a presentation to the Royal Society of London, proposing that the Society undertake the compilation of a geological map. His reasoning was that such a map would be the first step in a quantitative analysis of the Earth’s crust; he concluded that from such a map, “…something more might be comprehended from the whole, and from every part, than I can possibly foresee, which would make such a labor very well worth the pains” (quoted in GSA News and Information, November 1980, p. 165). From the birth of the DNAG concept through publication of many of the proposed volumes and maps, the hundreds of participants in the project have drawn inspiration from Lister’s statement. The DNAG set will summarize the state of geological knowledge of the North American Plate and adjacent areas. Truly, something more will be comprehended from the whole; Leon T. Silver said, “As the breeding grounds for a new generation of scientific exploration, [the DNAG publications] appropriately launch the next century of the Geological Society of America.”

The volumes and maps not already published are projected for completion in 1989 or 1990. The 40 volumes, 23 transects, 7 continent-scale maps, and 2 sheets of comparative tectonic sections will represent a full decade’s work on the part of authors, editors, coordinators, and GSA staff members.

The year 1980 was a watershed year for DNAG. The “regional geological synthesis“ had moved from an idea to predicted reality, and the GSA Council had authorized formation of the Geological Society of America Foundation, a fund-raising arm of the Society, to raise money to get the project off the ground. Also by 1980, the Council had approved the hiring of a Centennial Science Program Coordinator, and leaders had already been contacted for the works planned at that time.

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