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Cite GSA Style

Guide to GSA style as developed by the Geological Society of America.

Formatting Your Paper Tips

Follow these formatting rules when writing a paper in GSA Style:

  • Margins
    Page margins should be 1'' on top, bottom, left, and right.
  • Font
    Use Times New Roman, size 12 font.
  • Line Spacing
    Use double spacing for all of paper, including References Cited list.
  • References
    Each reference in your References Cited list should have a hanging indent.

Manuscript Template

The Geological Society of America has provided a template that can be used as a base for your paper.

Writing in GSA Style

Follow these guidelines when making the individual parts of your paper.

All information below comes from the GSA Publications (PDF).


The abstract should not exceed 250 words, and it should present the general content and conclusions of the paper.  Do not include references, criticisms, drawings, or diagrams in the abstract.

Units of measure

Use the International System of units (metric) in captions, illustrations, and text. Where English measurements are necessary, follow metric with English in parentheses.


Avoid footnotes and parenthetical statements. Textual footnotes that are deemed necessary should be numbered consecutively with superscripts and also typed double-spaced.


Make captions precise and explain all symbols and abbreviations that are used. Type captions in consecutive order, double-spaced. Do not put captions and figures on the same page.


Tables should replace text, not duplicate it. They should be numbered consecutively, and each must be typed on a separate page.


Appendixes should be placed at the end of the text, before the References Cited.  All appendixes should have a title (for example, APPENDIX 1. SAMPLE DESCRIPTIONS).

Mathematical equations

Identify mathematical symbols -- for example, "lower-case alpha," "upper-case beta," "vector," "zero," "oh," "one," "el." Underline all variables (except vectors) to indicate that they are to be typeset in italics. Define your use of symbols in the text the first time each appears.

Follow this format for in-text mathematical equations and expressions:


Create a Hanging indent for Your Citation

It's easier done than said:

See instructions for your phone or smaller devices

  1. Place your cursor at the beginning of your citation, and highlight it.
  2. Right click your mouse
  3. Select Paragraph from the resulting pop up menu
  4. Under Indentation, use the Special pull-down menu to select hanging
  5. Use the By menu to select 0.5"
  6. Select OK. 

For multiple Citations in a References, Works Cited or Bibliography Page

  1. Once you've applied the hanging indent using the technique above, hit enter after your citation.
  2. If you are typing your citation it should keep the same formatting. If you are pasting in your citation, right click when you paste and select the paste as text option (looks like a A on clipboard) and Word will automatically apply all the formatting you've already done, including hanging indent, spacing, font, etc. Alternatively you could wait until all your citations are on your bib, highlight them all at once, then use the 5 steps as listed above.

Paste the text

Create a Hanging indent on your phone

You might not see teh options on your phone. The key is to rotate the screen to landscape mode so you can see the available options (see images below to see the difference). Here are the steps:

  1. Once you have typed in the text you want for your block quote, tap enter/return before the first word of the quote and after the last word of the quote.
  2. Highlight the text that you want to indent.
  3. Rotate your device so that you're viewing it in landscape mode.
  4. Choose the indent option and you're good. If for some reason you can' do that, you'll have to tap the dot options that represent more menu options, bu that will take more steps.

View in Landscape Mode


View In Portrait Mode