About USESO

The foremost competition for Earth Science in the United States, USESO aims to promote and inspire education of the Earth and its global systems to students across the nation. After a national open exam, roughly thirty students are invited to participate in a week-long residential program at the University of Vermont where they hone their field work skills and deepen their understanding of the complex systems that govern our planet. At the conclusion of the program, the eight students who will represent USA at the International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) are selected. For more specific details, see About Programs and Selection Process.

If you are a student interested in becoming a member of the U.S. Earth Science Team, please read through this entire site and ask your science teacher to nominate you for this program. If you make the international team, you will have the opportunity to travel to a foreign country, work to communicate your knowledge of Earth Science, and work with a team of students from all over the world. Visit the France IESO Website to get a sense of what past IESOs have been like, as well as the official IESO site for general information.

If you are a teacher, please consider nominating your students who you believe are ready to step up to this challenge, and feel free to take advantage of the IESO-based classroom activities posted on this website.

What is IESO?

The International Earth Science Olympiad is organized under the guidance of the International Geological Education Organization (IGEO). Each year, the top Earth Science students from over forty participating countries attend the IESO. At the IESO, students are assessed for individual content knowledge in the various Earth Systems, including the Geosphere, Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, and Solar system Astronomy.

Beyond the individual competition, students also participate in the International Team Field Investigation (ITFI). Working in small teams composed of students from all over the world, students are given a “real world” Earth science related challenge to solve together. After conduction field work, data collection, and online research, students present their conclusions in a cohesive presentation to a jury of professors, politicians, and professionals. The aim of this investigation is to promote the international cooperation essential to mitigation of the serious, real world Earth science issues facing humanity, ranging from ocean acidification, sea level fluctuation, climate destabilization, and widespread plastic pollution. Communication among scientists from around the globe is critical to solving these issues. This work starts at the IESO.

Students and mentors of the 11th International Earth Science Olympiad in France.
Students explored the Nice Observatory high in the French Alps.
Students analyzed the underlying geology of the failed Malpasset Dam as a component of the ITFI.
An ITFI team wins Gold at the 11th IESO. A member of the U.S. Earth Science Team is pictured 2nd from the left.