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Technological Developments in Geosciences Up to the Year 2000 and Beyond

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Author Laurin AF
ID P198601106

Description

The earth is a planet limited in size and limited in total resources. For the forseeable future, it is the only available habitat for mankind. Therefore, it follows that the more we know about our planet the better we can utilize its space and its resources for our well-being now and in the future. But, to accomplish this, we need reliable basic information. Geosciences provide such information. Recently, Dr. M. King Hubbert took note of the important effect of the geosciences on society, on how we think, and how we live. In the first century of modern geology, 1780- 1880, the influence of geology was primarily on how we think, i.e. changing our concept of the earth from one with a short catastrophic history to one that developed gradually over enormous spans of time. In the second century, 1880-1980, the emphasis was on how we live, on expanding the knowledge base so that we could more easily find and utilize the earth’s resources. Now, in the third century, i.e. from 1980 towards the year 2000 and beyond, we should concentrate on both how we think and how we live; i.e. how we can better estimate potential global’ resources and how we can manage these resources for maximum benefit to mankind. Like other sciences, the geosciences build upon what has already been done. Progress is achieved by using the thoughts, measurements, and observations of past workers, adding to these the insights from new experiments and from new concepts. Geology has its own methodology and approaches; but more than most sciences, it calls also upon the tools of physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and biology to help solve its problems. Today’s increasing population, increasing industrialization, and increasing complexity of modern society demand more detailed geoscience information so as to better use the land, reduce geological hazards, provide an inventory of resources, facilitate waste disposal, and prepare for long-term effects such as changes in climate and sea level.