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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society 6 Ensuring Excellence and the National Well-Being ESSAY The previous chapters have documented the tremendous opportunities that exist in the solid-earth sciences, in terms of both greater scientific understanding and potential benefits to society. This chapter examines the educational, material, informational, and institutional resources that will be needed to ensure excellence in the earth sciences and thus maximize the scientific and societal returns. Funding for the solid-earth sciences and a prioritization of basic and applied research activities are discussed in Chapter 7. Given the many pressing problems that involve the earth sciences, excellence among earth scientists is more important now than ever before. But scientific excellence does not happen by chance. It requires an adequate number of well-educated scientists, a strong scientific infrastructure, careful planning, and sustained effort—or, stated more directly, better training, better instruments and facilities, better access to information, and strong management. The leadership necessary to achieve these ends must come from geoscientists themselves, from government, and from industry. Investments in the long-term health of the profession must be made today, and planning must begin now to address problems that can be foreseen for the years ahead. Scientific excellence also requires a social environment that nurtures the spirit of inquiry, is enthusiastic about innovation, and respects curiosity and intellectual talents. Instincts for inquiry, innovation, and curiosity are inherent in human nature, it is true, but experience shows that although science thrives in some situations it languishes in others. Natural instincts can be nurtured or neglected. Today's society cannot afford to be neglectful. Geologists have played a pivotal role in societal growth and health for the past century. Through the efforts of geologists and other earth scientists, great deposits of underground water and mineral and energy resources have been found and made available. The composition and
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society dynamics of the solid-earth have been explored, leading to insights of scientific, aesthetic, and economic value. Links with the defense community have been forged, organized around a common interest in the nature of the Earth and a concern over ensuring adequate supplies of strategic materials. If advances in the solid-earth sciences are to continue to occur at the rate demanded by societal needs, the profession must have access to adequate resources. The first and most important such resource is a sufficient number of well-qualified professionals engaged in studying the Earth and applying their knowledge about it. According to a recent survey, there are approximately 80,000 individuals who can be classified as solid-earth scientists in the United States. Over half of these people are employed by the petroleum and mining and minerals industries. Government employs about 12,000 geoscientists, and about 10,000 work in academia. The supply of and demand for earth scientists have historically been out of phase, and that remains true today. Because of the dramatic decline in petroleum prices in the mid-1980s, following aggressive hiring by the industry during the 1970s, petroleum-related hiring decreased by about a third. The mining industry was also in a long period of depressed commodity prices, which led to the loss of jobs by thousands of mineral resource earth scientists. Decline in employment in the extractive industries was concurrent with increased demand in other areas. Environmental legislation in the early 1980s dealing with waste disposal sites was enacted and enforced. Employment projections indicate that opportunities in the earth sciences are growing again, with emphasis on issues of groundwater, the siting of waste repositories, and environmental cleanups. Because of this shift, the retirement of current earth scientists, and the eventual recovery of the oil and gas industry, the demand for solid-earth scientists can be expected to continue to grow. Undergraduate enrollments in the earth sciences have tracked the ups and downs of employment in the extractive sector. The prospects for a recovery of enrollments are cloudy despite the changing emphasis of the field toward environmental issues. In general, the college-age population has been declining in the United States, and declining numbers of freshmen express an interest in science in general and the earth sciences in particular. Also, women and minorities are greatly underrepresented in the earth sciences, and these are the groups that will make up nearly 70 percent of new entrants into the work force in the 1990s. Growth in the enrollment of women, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, has been increasing in the past decade. Much of the reason for lack of interest in the earth sciences among college freshmen is that relatively few of them are taught earth sciences in elementary and secondary schools. The resulting paucity of teaching opportunities has contributed to a corresponding shortage of qualified earth science teachers. If more precollege students are to be exposed to the opportunities and rewards of earth sciences, these subjects must be taught more widely, by a larger number of better-prepared teachers, and in a more exciting manner. At the undergraduate level, attention must focus on introductory
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society geoscience courses, on courses for future earth science teachers, and on the preparation of earth science majors. Introductory courses must be among the best that an earth science department offers, because a significant fraction of majors will emerge from this group and because, for most of the other students, this will be their only formal exposure to earth sciences. Earth science departments must also collaborate with education departments in designing programs for future precollege earth science teachers, because the best-prepared teachers are those who have completed most, if not all, of the courses required of earth science majors. For both undergraduate and graduate earth science students, flexibility, versatility, and a firm foundation in such allied sciences as mathematics and computer science are crucial. All of these students should be involved in research under the guidance, but not strict direction, of teachers. Fundamental principles must be emphasized, because a narrow focus on job training will eventually require substantial levels of retraining as national needs change. A number of steps can be taken to strengthen precollege, undergraduate, and graduate education in the earth sciences, including greater involvement of professional societies in education, government programs directed at science and mathematics education, and the efforts of individual earth scientists who resolve to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm to others. Not only will these initiatives strengthen the earth science field, but they also will promote greater public awareness of earth sciences, with corresponding benefits for public decision making and public policy. However, even if earth science education in the United States is thoroughly reformed, personnel shortages are likely to occur. Given that likelihood, geoscientists must be ready to modify their activities to remain as productive as they have been. One possible way to do this is to make the fullest possible use of modern instrumentation. In recent years, technological progress has transformed the analytical tools available to earth scientists. Satellite measurements, high-pressure experimental instruments, microanalytical techniques, digital seismometers, and high-performance computers have greatly expanded the range and sensitivity of modern instrumentation. The development of ever more sophisticated (and usually more expensive) instruments has raised a number of difficult questions in the earth sciences. How best can small groups of researchers gain access to instruments that are too expensive for a single group, or even an earth science department, to afford? What is the optimum division of support between individual researchers and the infrastructure needed to answer vanguard research questions? How should instruments be operated and maintained once they have been acquired? The course of science is largely unpredictable, but the needs of a discipline for instruments and facilities usually must be planned in advance. Chapter 7 looks at a number of highly promising research areas and touches on the instruments and facilities that will be needed to advance in those areas. Over the years the use of these various instruments and facilities has
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society resulted in enormous amounts of information becoming available to solid-earth scientists. Maps, text, physical samples, aerial and space-based imagery, well logs, and seismic data are all just small parts of the array of data from which earth scientists can draw. Over the past several decades, the acquisition, retention, dissemination, and use of data have been undergoing a fundamental change because of the advent and rapid development of the computer. Today, an ever-increasing fraction of the data used in science is in digital form. Digital data can be readily stored, accessed, distributed, edited, and presented in various forms. Even more important, digital data can be processed, analyzed, modeled, and evaluated quickly, automatically, and quantitatively. However, the onslaught of digital data in the earth sciences threatens to overwhelm more traditional methods of data management. Coordination within the profession in the areas of retention and distribution of data is now limited. Incompatible data formats, lack of knowledge about the existence of data, proprietary and national security concerns, and the lack of centralized archives all potentially limit the use of data in solving important problems. Greatly improving the availability and utility of earth science data requires a national earth science data policy or set of guidelines dealing with a wide range of issues. One important element of this policy should be the establishment of a distributed national data system built on existing data centers as appropriate. A policy should also deal with issues of digitization of original data, incentives for data retention and dissemination, data-base standardization, exchange formats, the provision of data directories, research into data systems, and the training of students and professionals in data management. Questions of data management also extend internationally. Study of the Earth is intrinsically global. The earth sciences, by nature, have always had a global orientation, but an opportunity is now at hand for global activities that will advance the earth sciences in unprecedented ways. International collaboration in the earth sciences takes place both through formalized programs and individual scientists working with colleagues from other countries. In addition, many international contacts take place through the overseas operations of multinational corporations. These interactions should not only be continued but also increased, given the ever more global orientation of much work in the earth sciences. An emerging trend that will inevitably influence the earth sciences in the years ahead is the growing awareness that problems long considered to be local are really global problems. Humans are altering the environment at an ever-increasing rate. Anthropogenic effects include erosion of the land, deforestation, pollution and exhaustion of water resources, destruction of atmospheric ozone, and changed composition of the atmosphere. Understanding and altering these trends demand international cooperation and planning. The earth sciences, through emphasis on international research and communication, can help show the way toward this new era of global cooperation.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society ROLES, NUMBERS, AND BACKGROUNDS OF SOLID-EARTH SCIENTISTS Civilization has reached a critical stage on this planet. Earth scientists, because of their training, must play a prominent role in solving some of society's most pressing problems, even more than they have in the past. They must help locate adequate energy and mineral resources; safely dispose of toxic chemical and radioactive wastes; contribute to responsible land use for an expanding and increasingly mobile world population; maintain safe and adequate water supplies; and reduce the danger from volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, and other natural hazards. Future roles for earth scientists will be even more important. Not only will geologists be called on to help find new resources, they also will play an essential role in assessing the consequences of using those resources. In this way, understanding of the Earth will provide an essential underpinning for sound public policy. The earth science community must be able to pursue research in response to demands from policy makers, and it must do so on a schedule that anticipates societal imperatives and facilitates transfer of scientific information to decision makers and the general public. As in other areas of science, the specific roles of earth scientists have become increasingly specialized as the field has evolved. Table 6.1 gives a breakdown of the major groupings within the solid-earth sciences. Other breakdowns are possible, and individual specialties can be further divided. In addition, many solid-earth scientists work in areas that span two or more specialties, and many problems must be addressed through the combined contributions of more than one specialty. The earth science community still lacks a full understanding of the many factors that contribute to the supply and demand for personnel in specific specialties. Analyses of the factors affecting the work force should continue, both through surveys and broader studies of the need for scientific and technical personnel in the United States. Once the dynamics of supply and demand are better understood, the profession can begin to address its education, training, and hiring mechanisms with a view toward reducing these imbalances. In addition, more detailed and accurate data will be needed to assess personnel needs and trends in the solid-earth sciences. The National Science Foundation (NSF) could become a much more valuable source of data if it recognized the geosciences as an independent discipline, with appropriate distinctions made between specialties in the earth sciences. The professional societies, which are conducting an increasing number of surveys, are another valuable source of information. Their activities should be coordinated, perhaps through an independent body such as the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. TABLE 6.1 One of Many Classifications of Disciplinary Specialities Within the Solid-Earth Sciences Economic and mining geology Engineering geology and engineering geophysics Environmental geology General geology and earth sciences Geochemistry Geomorphology Geophysics Hydrology and hydrogeology Marine geology/marine geophysics Mathematical geology and geostatistics Mineralogy Paleobiology Petroleum geology Petroleum geophysics Petrology Planetary geology Sedimentology Soil geology Stratigraphy Structural geology and tectonics Volcanology SOURCE: American Geological Institute (1987). Solid-Earth Sciences and National Security In addition to their civilian activities, a subset of earth scientists have forged close links with the defense community over the past half century because of a common interest in understanding the operation of the earth system, or parts of the system, on varied spatial and temporal scales. For example, mapping of the magnetic stripes on the ocean floor, which was important for submarine operations, provided information that enabled geophysicists to establish how the ocean floor had evolved over the past 170 million years. Also, installation of the World-Wide Seismic Network in the early 1960s was related to a need to discriminate between underground nuclear tests and natural earthquakes. This network permitted identification of the precise location of earthquake epicenters, so the sharp boundaries of tectonic plates were soon recognized. These data were used by the founders of
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society plate tectonics to show how the lithosphere forms and evolves, thus radically changing the character of the earth sciences. In return, earth scientists have provided the defense community with sophisticated methods to detect underground nuclear testing, to map the Earth's magnetic field to assist submarine navigation, and to gauge the Earth's gravity field to assist in satellite tracking and navigation—to name but three contributions. Today, the commonality of interest extends from the Department of Defense's involvement in new and more sophisticated seismic networks (which will contribute to growing understanding of the structure of the deep interior) to detailed mapping of the topography of the ocean floor and determination of the gravity field from satellite altimetry. The interests of the earth science community and the defense community often overlap, but they by no means always coincide. For example, studies of altimetry from the Sea Satellite (SEASAT) and the exact repeat mission orbits of the U.S. Navy's Geodetic Satellite (GEOSAT) that repeated the SEASAT orbits are throwing light on the structure of the ocean floor. But more information on scientifically interesting topics, such as the structure beneath active hot-spots and hot-spot tracks, is not currently available to the earth science community, although it exists in data from the GEOSAT orbits that lie between the SEASAT orbits. These data are, however, being declassified for much of the Southern Hemisphere, which is a welcome development. The Navy has released the full data set for regions south of 30°S and is considering release of data for the entire Southern Hemisphere. Differences of this kind are unavoidable. But as the recent declassification of topographic data from the Exclusive Economic Zone illustrates, efforts to bring scientifically important information into the scientific domain can be successful. Maintenance of dialogue between the two communities is vital. Another way that solid-earth scientists interface with national security concerns is with raw materials. In particular, many questions surround the strategic minerals, those that are largely or entirely imported into the United States. Are supplies assured? Can alternative sources be found, either within the United States or elsewhere? What can be done if the cost of imported raw materials rises rapidly and greatly? How feasible is their conservation or recycling? Is there a need for stockpiling reserves? The operation of the free market does much to answer these questions, but in some cases the government has taken nonmarket actions, such as establishing the strategic petroleum reserve. However, the United States still lacks a comprehensive mineral policy, and responsibility for minerals is spread among a number of government agencies. The 10 regional resource offices in the State Department are an important link in the complex chain of understanding resource availability, but they have weakened in recent years. The issue of strategic minerals is like many in the earth sciences in its complexity and in the close interconnections of economic, technical, and political matters. Geoscientists have the technical knowledge to respond to national needs in whatever ways are appropriate. Limitations on this ability are set by the availability of professionals and by current levels of activity. It is not feasible to greatly increase levels of research, exploration, or production suddenly when skilled personnel are unavailable, as is discussed below. Demographic Characteristics of Solid-Earth Scientists Solid-earth scientists in the United States have a wide range of educational backgrounds. Many earth scientists received degrees from traditional geology or earth science departments in colleges and universities. Others received degrees in chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, or some other discipline and later came to specialize in an earth science field. The multidisciplinary character of geoscience is one of its great strengths, but it makes it difficult to precisely delineate the outlines of the field. For example, the NSF designs, conducts, and supports a number of surveys that collect information on scientific and engineering personnel, including the Survey of Experienced Scientists and Engineers, the Survey of Doctorate Recipients, and the Survey of Recent Science and Engineering Graduates. However, these surveys do not break out the solid-earth sciences and are therefore not very useful for assessing the numbers of scientists working in various areas of the field. To meet the need for better information about the field, the American Geological Institute (AGI), an umbrella group of 20 earth science professional societies, conducted a survey in 1989 on the composition and characteristics of the solid-earth science community in the United States and Canada and plans to do so again in the future. The survey results are relatively rough because only two previous such surveys were completed, but they give approximations of the size and characteristics of the geoscience community.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society TABLE 6.2 Employment Levels (as of 12/31/89) by Employer Category and Degree Level Degree Level Employer Category B.A./B.S. M.A/M.S. Ph.D. Total % of Total Domestic oil and gas industry 10,976 19,959 5,013 35,948 51 Domestic mining and minerals industry 3,092 2,465 441 5,998 8 Federal/state government agencies 3,661 2,876 1,943 8,480 12 Research institutions/DOE-funded national laboratoriesa 582 827 1,409 2,818 4 Geoscientific consulting firms 3,391 3,798 814 8,003 11 Academia 45 491 9,238 9,774 14 TOTAL 21,747 30,416 18,858 71,021 100 a DOE, Department of Energy. SOURCE: American Geological Institute (1989). The survey was sent to a sample of 310 companies, agencies, and universities. On the basis of these and previous returns, AGI estimated that in 1989 there were 120,000 individuals, including petroleum engineers and mining engineers, who could be classified as solid-earth scientists in the United States. If those two categories are excluded, the total number of geoscientists at the end of 1989 was about 71,000. About half of the 71,000 geoscientists in the United States were employed by the petroleum industry, with an additional 6,000 employed by the mining and minerals industries (Table 6.2). Government was the second largest employer, with some 12,000 geoscientists, followed by academia, with 10,000. Figure 6.1 shows the occupational objectives of respondents to an earlier survey. As might be expected from the large number of geoscientists employed by the petroleum and mining and minerals industries, finding and developing oil and gas deposits were the primary occupation of more than half of the survey respondents. Geotechnical applications were the next largest category, followed by finding and developing other resources and then by geoscientific education, basic research, and communications. Table 6.3 gives a cross-tabulation between employer category and the specialty practiced for 1987. Thus, about 42 percent of the geoscientists employed by the petroleum industry specialized in petroleum engineering, while almost 50 percent of those in engineering, construction, and consulting specialized in engineering geology. Geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and other earth sciences are heavily represented among those in research and related fields. The levels of training of solid-earth scientists in the United States show a similar diversity. Among FIGURE 6.1 The occupational objectives of employed solid-earth scientists. From American Geological Institute, 1989.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society TABLE 6.3 Estimated U.S. Population of Geoscientists by Employer Category and Occupational Category (rounded to nearest thousand) Geologists, Geochemists, Earth Scientists Geo- physicists Petroleum Engineers Mining Engineers Engineering Geologists Hydrologists/ Hydro- geologists Total % of Total Academia 5,000 2,400 600 600 a 200 9,000b 7.5 Government 5,500 3,000 800 700 2,000 2,000 14,000 11.7 Petroleum industry 16,500 15,000 28,000 a a 200 60,000 50.0 Mining/minerals industries 3,500 1,000 a 6,500 a a 11,000 9.2 Engineering, construction, and consulting 1,500 700 a 600 3,000 2,200 8,000 6.7 Research and related 1,500 1,500 a a 200 a 3,000 2.5 Other employers with geoscientific requirements 2,000 1,000 a a a a 3,000 2.5 Retired and unemployed 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,500 500 500 12,000 10.0 TOTAL 40,000b 28,000 31,000 10,000 6,000 5,000 120,000 100c a Too few to estimate. b Totals within categories are not necessarily the sum of each cell due to rounding and open categories. c Percentage totals do not add to 100% due to rounding. SOURCE: American Geological Institute (1989). the respondents to the surveys, slightly more than 70 percent reported that their most advanced degree was in a geoscientific specialty. The remainder had degrees in other specialties, including chemistry, mathematics, physics, and mechanical engineering. Of the 1989 survey respondents, 27 percent reported having a doctoral degree and 43 percent a master's degree. Therefore, about 30 percent of the individuals employed as geoscientists have only a bachelor's degree. Figure 6.2 shows the age distribution for survey respondents in 1987, and Table 6.4 shows the age distribution by occupational category and employer category. The largest numbers are in the 25 to 39 age group, with a secondary maximum in the 50 to 59 age group. This bulge is particularly notable in academia, where about 50 percent of the respondents were 50 and over and only 12.5 percent were under 35. As this older group begins to retire, new geoscientists must be found to replace them, as discussed under the section Education in the Solid-Earth Sciences later in this chapter. Figure 6.3 gives the distribution of incomes for survey respondents in 1987, and Table 6.5 gives the approximate median annual incomes by employer categories. The highest median incomes were earned by those working for other employers with geoscience requirements, but this group makes up only about 2 percent of the total population. The next highest earnings went to those in the petroleum industry. Future Demand for Solid-Earth Scientists The supply of and demand for solid-earth scientists tend to be out of phase. On the demand side, the problem has been a chronic oscillation in earth science employment—the so-called boom-and-bust cycle—related to employment needs in the petroleum and mining and minerals industries. Although such oscillations are universal under a free market economy, they have been of exceptional amplitude in the solid-earth sciences. The high amplitude results from the important role of exploration in FIGURE 6.2 Age distribution for solid-earth scientists. From American Geological Institute, 1989.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society TABLE 6.4 Age Distribution and Employer Category in 1987 (as percentage of employer categories) Age Employer Category % Under 35 % 35-49 % 50 and Over Academia 12.5 38.1 49.4 Government 15.2 38.4 46.4 Petroleum industry 38.7 31.0 30.3 Mining/minerals industries 22.1 39.6 38.3 Engineering, construction, consulting 19.7 37.0 43.3 Research and related 24.0 46.0 30.0 Other employers with geoscientific requirements 27.3 36.4 36.3 Employers with no geoscientific requirements 35.7 38.1 26.2 Not employed 16.5 13.6 69.9 Total 28.8 31.6 39.6 SOURCE: American Geological Institute (1987). TABLE 6.5 Approximate Median Annual Income by Employer Category Employer Category Approximate Median Income Academia $49,000 Government 44,000 Petroleum industry 56,000 Mining/minerals industries 45,000 Engineering, construction, consulting 51,000 Research and related 51,000 Other employers with geoscientific requirements 63,000 Employers with no geoscientific requirements <20,000 Not employed <20,000 Total 51,000 SOURCE: American Geological Institute (1987). professional employment. Exploration for oil and gas as well as minerals is expensive and does not yield immediate income. Companies have therefore commonly reduced or suspended exploration in hard times. Many geoscientists involved in exploration are fired at those times. The education system responds to employment fluctuations, but, because there is a lag between education and employment, serious mismatches between the supply and demand for earth scientists can result. As shown in Figure 6.4, the supply of solid-earth scientists generated by American colleges and universities is closely related to production in the oil and gas industry, since the petroleum industry employs about half of all geoscientists in the United States. Production is in turn partly related to price, so that future changes in oil and gas prices will be one determinant of future supplies of students. The number of earth scientists employed in the extractive industries has declined in recent years and may never again match its earlier peaks. But the continued use of oil, gas, and mineral reserves and the aging population of the earth scientists employed in these industries guarantee that more geoscientists will be needed in those areas. Fortunately, the decline of petroleum-related jobs has been concurrent with increased demand for other types of solid-earth scientists. In the early 1980s, environmental legislation dealing with the proper siting and characterization of new waste disposal sites and cleanup of existing sites was enacted and strictly enforced. This has created demands for hydrologists, geophysicists, and low-temperature geochemists. During 1988 to 1989, according to hiring surveys conducted by AGI, while petroleum-related hiring in the earth sciences decreased by 33 percent, hydrogeological and engi- FIGURE 6.3 Incomes for solid-earth scientists. From American Geological Institute, 1989.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society FIGURE 6.4 The number of oil and gas wells drilled in the United States corresponds closely with the number of geology majors at the University of Texas, emphasizing the close relationship between the petroleum industry and geological education. From W. L. Fisher, University of Texas at Austin. neering geology hiring increased by 43 percent. For example, virtually any student who holds a graduate degree in an ''environmental geology" field receives numerous job offers, and some of the best graduate students are being hired by private industry before finishing their degrees. Several surveys indicate that there will be a greatly increased demand for geoscientists trained in specific applied fields in the future. Employment projections indicate a sixfold increase in many areas of the solid-earth sciences during the 1990s for Superfund sites alone. Costs associated solely with the cleanup of Department of Energy facilities are estimated by some to be over $150 billion, a large part of which must be directed at geoscience issues. When other waste cleanup demands and future legislation dealing with local, regional, and global environmental issues are considered, there is no question that employment opportunities in the geosciences will grow significantly. If the solid-earth science community cannot provide the critical expertise, the work will be performed by others who are not necessarily qualified. These trends, plus the aging of the earth science community and brighter prospects for the oil and gas industry, indicate that there will be a substantially increased demand for geoscientists in the 1990s and into the twenty-first century. Yet the U.S. education system now appears incapable of meeting that demand. This looming personnel crisis in the solid-earth sciences is discussed in more detail in the section below. EDUCATION IN THE SOLID-EARTH SCIENCES As pointed out above, the continued vitality of the solid-earth sciences will be critically dependent on a continuous supply of well-prepared geoscientists to satisfy national needs in both basic and applied research. Yet the prospects for finding personnel in the solid-earth sciences, as in other areas of science, are extremely troubling. Since 1983 the number of undergraduate students enrolled in the approximately 800 solid-earth science programs in the nation's colleges and universities has dropped by more than half (Figure 6.5). Graduate enrollments and degrees granted in the approximately 125 schools offering doctoral programs in the solid-earth sciences have remained more stable, but declines can probably be expected as the number of undergraduate majors diminishes (Figure 6.6). Furthermore, many of the students in graduate programs are not U.S. citizens, and a substantial fraction of them will return to their native countries after graduation. Those who remain, if they do not become citizens, may not be able to work on at least some environmental projects. Curricula in graduate
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society FIGURE 6.5 Enrollments in the solid-earth sciences between 1980 and 1991. From American Geological Institute. and undergraduate programs are also a focus of concern. Although some geoscience programs are attempting to increase offerings in high-demand fields (such as hydrology), the changes are occurring slowly, and there are few qualified scientists to teach in these programs because those who are qualified can make much more money in the consulting field. An economic recovery of the oil and gas industry will likely increase undergraduate enrollments. But long-term demographic trends may still limit the number of individuals trained in the solid-earth sciences. There are about 20 percent fewer college-aged students now than there were during the mid-1970s, when the peak of the baby boom was moving through its college years. Also, levels of interest in science and technology have been declining, as has the level of precollege exposure to the earth sciences. Of the 18 year olds entering college in the fall of 1989, only 1 in a 1,000 cited earth science as his or her probable major field of study, according to the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California at Los Angeles. (Only 2.2 percent listed any area in the physical sciences, with an additional 3.7 percent listing areas in biology.) Even among the best-qualified high school students (those with mathematics SAT scores above the 90th percentile), interest in the natural sciences has fallen to about 15 percent, and those interested in the earth sciences constitute less than 1 percent. The composition of younger age groups poses FIGURE 6.6 Numbers and types of degrees granted in the solid-earth sciences between 1980 and 1991. From American Geological Institute.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society In 1983 the secretary-general of the United Nations established an independent commission to formulate "a global agenda for change" that would propose long-term strategies for achieving sustainable environmental development by the year 2000 and beyond. To accomplish this ambitious goal, it was recognized that greater cooperation would be required among developing as well as developed countries. The resulting World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) met from 1983 to 1987 and produced a report entitled Our Common Future. In the report overview, entitled "From One Earth to One World," the WCED members summarized the challenges that humankind must address to establish "a new development path . . . one that will sustain human progress not just in a few places for a few years, but for the entire planet into the distant future.'' Scientific research in space, the oceans, and Antarctica extends beyond the boundaries of individual countries. As a follow-up to the IGY experience, several scientific unions called for the creation of international organizations under the ICSU to encourage continued global cooperation in these three areas. To this end, the ICSU established three scientific committees with mandates for operation of indefinite duration: Space Research (COSPAR), Oceanic Research (SCOR), and Antarctic Research (SCAR). The programs developed and monitored by these international bodies include numerous solid-earth studies and involve solid-earth scientists in interdisciplinary activities. The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) is a successful global geoscience venture that evolved from a project of U.S. scientists. The concept and engineering for the ODP began in the 1960s when an effort was made to drill scientific holes through thin oceanic crust and into the upper mantle (Project Mohole). Project Mohole was conceived with good intent, but the scientific enthusiasm exceeded both the financial commitments and the current technical capabilities. Nevertheless, a commitment to scientific drilling had been established, and important related technology development was begun. In 1968 the research drilling vessel Glomar Challenger embarked on a mission to explore the crust of the world's oceans and thus to test a number of geological concepts. This Deep-Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) was succeeded by the current ODP, which is a $45 million per year venture involving the United States (through NSF) and 19 other nations. During the past 20 years, over a thousand holes have been drilled, and more than 100 km of drill core has been accumulated. The cores, correlated with geophysical survey interpretations, have been essential to scientists throughout the world in determining the ages and distribution of oceanic sediments, the structure of the crust, and the worldwide history of oceanic and climatic changes. Although international science need not always be conducted under a mantle of formalized programs, such arrangements are useful in gaining commitments from participating countries. Productive ventures in international science are also being conducted by individual scientists—either working alone or sharing project responsibilities with colleagues from other countries. U.S. Collaborative Activities Besides U.S. involvement in many major international earth science organizations, events, and bilateral programs, U.S. government agencies, such as the NSF, USGS, NASA, and NOAA, have played important roles in global programs. International collaboration has also been encouraged and facilitated by various U.S.-based scientific societies, by the National Academy of Sciences, and by individual academic institutions and scientists in the United States. Since its formation in 1950, the NSF has fostered and supported U.S. participation in international science activities that "promise significant benefit to the U.S. research and training effort." The foundation's policies encourage U.S. awareness of science and engineering developments in foreign countries, stimulate initiation of international cooperative activities, provide opportunities for scientific collaboration in developing countries, and offer support to U.S. institutions for research studies conducted abroad. Cooperative science programs currently being conducted by the NSF include studies in Australia, the People's Republic of China, the former Soviet Union, Eastern European countries, India, Japan, Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Western Europe. The Western European program is one of the most ambitious, involving over a dozen nations. NSF support includes travel funds for U.S. scientists to visit other nations for variable periods of time, research participation grants to support individual or joint studies in host nations, and funds for international seminars addressing topics of common interest to participating countries. NSF also currently supports research by U.S. earth scientists on an exchange basis with other nations' Antarctic expeditions under the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society The NSF provides joint funding with other nations to form special organizations committed to scientific studies. An example is the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), an agreement signed in 1972 to establish a program of cooperative scientific research and related activities to be conducted principally in Israel. The BSF office, located in Jerusalem, coordinates projects in a variety of research areas, including the natural sciences. A similar arrangement with what was then Yugoslavia was established in 1973 to develop a program of cooperative science and technology projects. In 1984 the NSF, in cooperation with the USGS, agreed to support the development of a global network of seismic stations that would telemeter readings to data centers around the world. Development of the full network is expected to require in excess of $100 million and involve at least 10 years of effort under currently projected funding levels. The resulting global system will provide high-quality geophysical data that can be studied by earth scientists throughout the world to further develop models of the interior, to improve our understanding of earthquake dynamics, and to continue the mapping of mantle convection patterns. This Global Seismographic Network (GSN) program is coordinated by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a private nonprofit corporation currently composed of 62 U.S. universities. The program's activities have been coordinated with those of the Worldwide Standardized Seismic Network (WWSSN) established under the auspices of NOAA, which is now supported and managed by NSF. The success of the GSN program depends on the cooperation of many nations, several of which have global, regional, and/or national seismic network projects of their own. The most notable of the foreign global networks is the French GEOSCOPE project. This national program, established in 1982, now consists of 25 worldwide stations. The GEOSCOPE network will constitute the French contribution to a worldwide GSN program. In 1985 seismologists recognized that the seismology community must coordinate its efforts if it was to develop an optimum GSN. Under the sponsorship of the Interunion Commission on the Lithosphere, representatives of 20 institutions met in Karlsruhe, Federal Republic of Germany, and founded the Federation of Digital Broad-Band Seismographic Networks. The federation, which represents 10 countries at present, has adopted standards for the system response of federation seismographic stations and for the formats to be used in the exchange of earthquake data. Future network siting plans have been made by its members, resulting in an improved collective global network. Preparations are now being made for the deployment of seismographic stations meeting federation standards. If current proposals are adequately supported, the federation's global network should comprise at least 90 stations by the early 1990s. As stated earlier, the ODP is an example of a consortium-based international activity (operated through the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., on behalf of NSF) that continues to produce valuable earth science information. There are several other examples of consortia that have been formed (or are forming) that involve international cooperation in seismic reflection profiling and continental drilling. Government-to-government agreements and letters of understanding have been proposed by various U.S. government agencies to foster global geoscience collaboration. The USGS uses such agreements as its principal mechanisms for carrying out overseas collaboration in both basic and applied geoscientific research. At present the USGS has 37 agreements in place. Most of the agreements provide a direct working relationship between the USGS and its counterpart bureau, agency, or department in the partner nation. The U.S. Bureau of Mines has also negotiated a series of cooperative agreements with counterpart agencies in nations throughout the world. Each of the cooperative arrangements addresses a combination of societal, economic, and technical issues of mutual concern to the participants. Geoscientific input is a component of many of these agreements. Cooperative agreements between the United States and other nations also can enable individual scientists to do field work in foreign countries, facilitate the transfer of funds for operating purposes between agencies, and provide for transmittal of geological data and specimens to the United States. Such provisions may be supplemented to allow future projects to be carried out under "umbrella" provisions added during the term of the agreement. In some cases, such as the Earth Sciences Protocol and the Earthquakes Studies Protocol between the United States and the People's Republic of China, several U.S. agencies may be involved. In 1986 a memorandum of understanding for the development of scientific cooperation in the earth sciences within the framework of the topic "Evolution of Geological Processes in the History of the Earth" was executed between the United States and the former Soviet Union. This accord was devel-
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society oped as a component of the Agreement on Scientific Cooperation between the then Soviet Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. The memorandum of understanding calls for identification of cooperative research projects in the earth sciences that would "contribute to our understanding of global processes and that could not be effectively pursued in the absence of such cooperation." Specific topics of study identified to date include: rift systems—Baikal (Russia), Rio Grande (USA); aleutian arc volcanism (USA)—Kurile/Kamchatka (Russia); collisional systems—Caucasus/Transcaucasus (Russia), Western United States; xenolith studies to determine chemical stratigraphy of the continental crust and mantle; volatile substances in igneous petrology; and deep drilling. All of these projects include field and laboratory studies that will integrate geological, geophysical, and geochemical components. In recent years the U.S. Congress has become more sensitive to environmental issues as well as political and economic factors in considering U.S. financial support of international development projects. Consequently, it has instructed the administrators of the Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and other international loan organizations to expand their evaluations of proposals soliciting U.S. support to include studies of the potential impact of new developments on the environment of the nations involved. Such evaluations are to focus on surficial geology, water resources, and potential geological hazards that may be precipitated by a proposed development. Participation of the geoscientific community in such appraisals is a requirement that will continue on a global basis. The importance of multinational cooperation in the geosciences has also been recognized by professional societies. Among these is the Geological Society of America (GSA), in which geologists from Mexico and Canada have long played prominent roles, the GSA has allied itself with the Association of Geoscientists for International Development in seeking avenues of global collaboration. The GSA has also formed an International Geology Division to promote international cooperation, with particular emphasis on expanding collaboration between geoscientists in North America and developing countries. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has been closely associated with the U.S. National Committee for the IUGG since 1920. Although the AGU is a U.S. organization, it has a definite international orientation. One of its more important offices is that of the foreign secretary. U.S. scientists and institutions play important roles in ongoing international geoscientific mapping programs. One example is the Circum-Pacific Map Project, an activity of the Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources, which is supported by the USGS, the IUGS, and organizations from countries rimming the Pacific Ocean. This project, which has been active since 1974, has produced a series of maps and reports summarizing the geology and resource status of the Pacific Ocean and its margins. A similar effort, the Circum-Atlantic Project, has recently been started within the IUGS. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), an organization whose members are principally involved in the applied geosciences, is becoming increasingly international in its composition and scope. Non-U.S. citizens now constitute 19 percent of its 38,000 members. A trend toward the international continues, as 32 percent of new members in the past 5 years have been non-U.S. citizens working in the United States and abroad. The U.S. petroleum and mineral industries have recognized the benefits of global collaboration in the earth sciences for many years. This awareness and participation have been demonstrated by: providing the geoscientific community with timely access to geological and geophysical data produced in worldwide programs; participating in major data integration projects, such as the Circum-Pacific and Circum-Atlantic international mapping projects; and contributing to broader international understanding of new concepts in the geosciences through presentations, publications, and participation in professional societies. Private industry has been involved in global geosciences through an assortment of individuals and organizations. These include contractors and consultants employed by industry and government agency clients to provide services outside the United States and resource companies seeking energy and mineral commodities by means of international exploration and development programs. The data acquired by these groups that involve global collaboration are of two general types:
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society Information that is classified as sensitive or proprietary and is of a nature that provides an owner with a competitive edge. This type of data is not made readily available to the geoscientific community; often it is withheld for a specific period of time. Geological, geophysical, and geochemical reports, maps, and logs in this category represent a significant potential source of international geoscientific information that eventually is released for general reference. Scientific data that can be dispersed to the community as they are acquired through a number of media. They are disseminated through presentations at meetings, publication of papers in professional journals, participation in international organizations, and sharing of data with appropriate agencies of the host country, such as geological surveys and mineral development agencies. Petroleum and mineral companies have historically contributed to the education of the geoscientists of developing nations in the course of exploring and evaluating the natural resource potential of the host countries. For many years, training was on an informal basis, but a number of companies have now established more structured procedures, including financing the college educations of students and company employees from Third World nations. As the resource-rich countries have achieved greater economic independence, exploration and development have become joint-venture operations, and the scientific and technical education of the host nation's citizens is now seen as a requirement rather than an option. This has resulted in greater independence on the part of the developing countries and in exposure of both students and instructors to other nations' geological frameworks. The extent to which such geoscientific backgrounds are shared on a global scale depends largely on the economic situation for a private company in a foreign country. As commodity prices fluctuate, private firms can find it difficult, if not impossible, to continue to operate in certain locales and may be forced to withdraw from that particular country. In such cases, nonoperating expenses, such as funds invested in educating local residents, often are curtailed or withdrawn. Consequently, the contributions to the global geoscientific data base by the private sector have been erratic over the years. Many U.S. multinational corporations have established overseas facilities specifically designed to keep abreast of advances in the geoscientific disciplines. Individual programs range from major investments in overseas laboratories to closer monitoring of scientific journal articles. The personnel involved in these joint efforts include both U.S. scientists and residents of the host countries. Overseas offices and facilities have allowed U.S. firms to maintain an awareness of scientific and technical advances, developments in the host country that affect a company's goals and economic success, and the availability of resources required for a firm's programs. Over the past two decades, U.S.-based companies have been faced with a significant increase in foreign competition from Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, Latin America, and Australia. This includes a significant expansion of nationalized oil companies' efforts to compete internationally outside their home countries. Available capital no longer provides the U.S. private sector an advantage in competing for development rights. As a result, petroleum exploration and development projects have involved a growing number of joint-venture participants. Nonpetroleum-related economic interrelationships and technology transfers are often required by foreign governments as well. The United States must remain aware of the world's energy and mineral supplies to recognize our nation's potential resource vulnerability. Resource reliance is an even more important economic issue if a nation experiences major fluctuations in its dependency on certain commodities. It is essential that geoscientists be allowed access to other geological environments if mineral and hydrocarbon resource concentration mechanisms are to be accurately interpreted. In the course of providing the United States with its basic mineral and energy resources needs, private industry and the earth science community must be aware of the potential environmental impacts of resource exploitation. Exploration and development decisions involve a continual balancing of values if the needs of future generations are to be weighed against the needs of today. These concerns can be most effectively evaluated only within the context of the Earth as a whole. Other Nations' Activities Many other developed countries are making major investments in earth science programs both within and outside their respective borders. Canada, Germany, Japan, and France are among the nations that have established long-term geoscience assistance and research projects in other countries. Support for the education of scientists from developing nations by the developed nations is a
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society method of global collaboration that receives limited publicity. France currently subsidizes more graduate and undergraduate students from the Third World than any other nation. This includes geoscience students studying in France and other countries. This commitment to educating citizens of African and Latin American countries so that they can independently recognize and contribute to the economic, ecological, and environmental needs of their respective nations is considered to be a sound investment by the French government. The education of scientists is an opportunity to assist developing countries that should not depend on the vagaries of individual U.S. agency budgets or on programs provided by other nations. The impact that scientists will make on their societies has been recognized, and subsidizing the education of Third World geoscientists should be considered a worthwhile investment on the part of the United States. Proposed Programs New solid-earth science programs are expected to be implemented in the near future. Most of these should expand U.S. participation in cooperative geoscience studies on a global scale. A study on earth system sciences (ESS) by NASA stated as a goal "to obtain a scientific understanding of the entire earth system on a global scale by describing how its component parts and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to continue to evolve on all time scales." The ESS study identified three basic approaches to accomplish this objective: long-term global observations of the Earth from the surface and from space, an improved data system to process existing and future information regarding the Earth, and development of models on the basis of the data obtained. Input from the solid-earth science community at an international level will be an essential requirement for the success of this program. The NRC's Space Studies Board recommended in its report Mission to Planet Earth that a program be established during the period 1995-2015 with four primary goals: to determine the composition, structure, and dynamics of the crust and interior; to understand the dynamics and chemistry of the oceans, atmosphere, and cryosphere and their interactions with the solid-earth; to characterize the relationships of living organisms with their physical environments; and to monitor the interaction of human activities with the natural environment. The Mission to Planet Earth plan calls for an extensive network of land- and ocean-based observatories that will measure the physical properties of the atmosphere, lithosphere, and oceans. NASA and the Mission to Planet Earth plans have objectives that relate to other major studies, including the Global Change Program and the International Lithosphere Program. A program to "Study the Earth's Deep Interior" (SEDI) was approved by the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics in 1987. The principal objective of SEDI is to encourage cooperative studies of the structure, composition, and dynamics of the interior, particularly the lower mantle, and core-mantle boundary region. Specific topics included in the program are the geomagnetic dynamo and secular variation; paleomagnetism and the evolution of the deep interior; the composition, structure, and dynamics of the core; the dynamo energetics and structure of the inner core; the core-mantle boundary region; and lower-mantle structure, convection, and plumes. A 1987 NRC report, International Role of U.S. Geoscience, summarized the status of U.S. participation in international geosciences and proposed changes and expansions for that role. One conclusion was that there had been a gradual decline in U.S. involvement in the geosciences on a global scale since World War II. Prior to 1945, U.S. foreign aid programs supported numerous geoscientific studies and mineral resource development projects throughout the world in cooperation with U.S. private companies. Many of these were terminated or reduced in the early 1950s. As a consequence, joint scientific research efforts between U.S. geoscientists and their foreign counterparts declined. The committee identified three areas that could benefit from an expanded U.S. role in the global geosciences and recommended actions to address each: Basic Scientific Research. The changing nature of geoscientific research in the world requires an expansion of U.S. involvement in international science consultation and data exchange, increased support for science and technology agreements, and additional opportunities for U.S. geoscientists to participate in field studies in foreign environments.
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society Economic Interests. In order to improve the competitive status of the United States, the flow and exchange of relevant geoscience information through U.S. embassies and consulates should increase, and cooperative programs involving geoscientists from the Third World and other nations should be strengthened through organizations such as the Agency for International Development. Foreign Policy. The awareness on the part of U.S. federal government groups involved in foreign policy decisions of the importance of the geosciences in negotiating global agreements should be improved. Specific policy topics requiring scientific input include waste management, acid rain, hazard reduction, energy and mineral resource availabilities, and desertification. The committee's report included a proposal that the United States consider the establishment of an American Office of Global Geosciences "to remedy existing deficiencies and to develop a long-term mechanism for an increased geoscience contribution to U.S. foreign policy, economic growth, and basic research." The proposed office would serve as a clearinghouse for international geoscience information and could help coordinate geoscientific projects and activities involving private industry, governments, and academia. Examples of how this could be accomplished include the assignment of additional technically qualified regional resource officers to U.S. embassies and consulates. These officers, referred to in the past as mineral attaches, could keep abreast of global mineral and energy resource availability, promote the interchange of scientific and technical data, and be aware of local developments affecting science-related activities. RECOMMENDATIONS The following discussion and recommendations focus on undergraduate education, instrumentation and facilities, data collection and analyses, and global collaboration. In other sections of this chapter, conclusions and recommendations are highlighted in specific sections and are not repeated here. Education in the Solid-Earth Sciences Significant changes are required to make the training of solid-earth scientists reflect changing societal demands on the profession. The committee believes that no single discipline's viewpoint is adequate for understanding the behavior of earth processes—even for those that are fairly well defined. The conventional disciplinary courses should be supplemented with more comprehensive courses in earth system science. Such courses should emphasize a global perspective, interrelationships and feedback processes, and the involvement of the biosphere in geochemical cycles. This is important as application of the earth sciences is increasingly toward interdisciplinary problems. Curricula are beginning to change in response to new and emerging fields but inevitably lag. New courses need to be developed to prepare students for growth in both employment and research opportunities in areas such as hydrology, land use, engineering geology, environmental and urban geology, and waste disposal. Such courses will be necessary to prepare students for changing careers in both the extractive industries and environmental areas of the earth sciences. No longer are these two areas separate, as mineral and energy resources need to be exploited in environmentally sound ways. Many of these "new" courses will cut across departmental boundaries. Colleges and universities should explore new educational opportunities (at both the undergraduate and graduate levels) that bridge the needs of earth science and engineering departments. This need arises from the growth of problems related to land use, urban geology, environmental geology and engineering, and waste disposal. The convergence of interests and research is striking, and the classical subject of "engineering geology" could become a significant redefined area of critical importance for society. The need for training students to undertake basic research is fundamental; funding for independent research at all levels of education should be increased. The understanding of the scientific process acquired through research will serve students well whether they choose an academic, applied, or industrial career path. As new concepts arise and fields change, there is a need, even for experienced scientists, for forms of continuing education. The sabbatical leave concept should be enhanced to provide researchers the ability to evolve with the field. Such a procedure would promote scientific currency and foster information exchange to the benefit of all. Finally, support for graduate and postdoctoral studies should be strengthened. Supplying the basic educational training for a hundred doctoral-level and several hundred master's-level earth scientists requires between $10 million and $20 million per year in scholarships and educational research sup-
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society port. This is a small but extremely cost-effective investment of high importance to the nation. Instrumentation and Facilities The breadth of the solid-earth sciences has ensured that an extraordinary range of instruments are required for research. One way of categorizing these instruments is used in the Implementation section of Chapter 7. They have been classified according to where they are deployed. A large class is deployed in laboratories, but other instruments that are used in field studies, in the widest sense, may be deployed in space, on aircraft, at the land surface, on the surface of the sea, and on the sea bed. Still other instruments are deployed within the crust in drilled holes. The trade-offs between costs of deployment and scientific return represent a particular challenge, because different parts of the earth science community are involved with different instruments and environments. Information summarized in Chapter 7 indicates that on balance all the priority themes outlined in this report are addressed by the funding of instrumentation and facilities under one or more federal programs. Vigilance in pursuing priorities is needed to ensure that an appropriate balance continues to be maintained. Many national laboratories have instrumentation and personnel that could be valuable to both university and industrial researchers. Arrangements should be made to enable qualified researchers access to this significant resource. Data Gathering and Handling The digital data revolution has provided exceptional opportunities for comprehensive and rapid assessment of data, but it has also created several new and complex problems that need the immediate attention of organizations and individuals involved in the solid-earth sciences. Despite the indispensability of data to the solid-earth sciences, data are not a discipline and therefore generally lack an associated constituency. Attempts to organize data bases and manage them are often construed as interfering with individual scientists or organizations or as a drain on limited scientific resources. This attitude must change if data are to be used to their greatest advantage. Today, the retention and dissemination of data in the earth sciences are characterized by the lack of an overall national policy. Yet these data are a national resource and form the backbone of the computer revolution as applied to the solid-earth sciences. Most data have a long useful life and a potential breadth of usefulness that far transcends the purposes for which they were collected. To maximize the effectiveness of the data that exist or are being gathered, a national earth science data policy or set of guidelines should be established. One element of this policy should be the establishment of a distributed national data management system. A data management system that will permit fast, inexpensive, and convenient retrieval of data is feasible within the foreseeable future. Modern telecommunications and computer technology allows the establishment of a national, networked, distributed data system built on existing data centers. National policies are needed that will provide incentives for organizations and individuals to first digitize existing and future solid-earth science data and then to place those data in a national data system. To avoid misunderstanding and to maximize cooperation, all segments of the community, especially the private sector, must be strongly involved in developing these policies from the outset. Suitable incentives may be complex, but it is clear that the rights of individuals, organizations, and data brokers must be recognized and held inviolate. A number of types of incentives can be considered. Because funds attached to a national system would probably be inadequate for the purchase of significant quantities of data, consideration should be given to providing tax incentives to encourage private industry to make data publicly available. Attention should also be given to providing incentives and guidelines for academic researchers. For example, the awarding of a grant or contract involving federal funds might be accompanied by a stipulation that data obtained in the research must be made publicly available (the NSF's Ocean Sciences Division has such a policy). Furthermore, consideration could be given to providing publication credit for placing data sets into central repositories. Special consideration should be given to data acquired by private firms or individuals when exploring public lands. For example, conditions could be established whereby the granting of exploration permits is accompanied by the requirement that data obtained in surveys be placed in a national data system with eventual public access. Already, some states have public release requirements for oil and gas well records. Policies for firms and individuals that stake mining claims on federal lands also need to be investi-
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society gated. Existing mining law, stemming from 1872, requires that claimants to federal lands do a hundred dollars worth of assessment work per year per claim (claims have prescribed maximum dimensions). The proof of assessment work might be extended to include submissions of verified data obtained in the course of that work. Finally, a revision in policies for oil and gas exploration and exploitation on the outer continental shelf should be considered. The present policy is that most (or all) such data are filed with the U.S. Minerals Management Service, but the data do not become publicly accessible. Public access after prescribed periods might be included in requirements or incentive policies. Ideally, a common data exchange format could be agreed to, so that any data set could be translated into the exchange format, routed across networks to any computer on the network, and finally transformed from the exchange format into the format of the receiving machine. This arrangement would permit the collectors of data to be the stewards of their data base, so that they could retain responsibility for the quality and security of their data. However, all data-generating individuals and organizations should be encouraged to make their data available to a national archive-information center as a backup to a distributed system and also to provide data to nonspecialist users. Professional societies and government agencies have made commendable efforts toward standardized data bases and exchange formats, which are essential to a national distributed data system. Additional exchange formats are required, and data definitions and quality standards must be established and accepted for broad use in the community if data exchange is to be effective. In addition, strong liaison should be maintained with the international community in coordinating data-base and exchange formats and in standardizing data definitions. An initial step in a distributed data system should be an on-line national data directory listing earth science data holdings of all participating organizations, with provision for continual updating of the directory. The USGS has helped to show the way by making vast sets of data available at low price on CD-ROM. Several European agencies are currently addressing the need for a single repository of information that catalogs and collates all items of potential interest to earth scientists. The United States needs to become more involved in this process. A distribution center should inventory the geoscientific data currently available from all nations. A national archival information directory should provide an on-line catalog of data sets using standard descriptive elements, and the system should be equipped with a mechanism to encourage those generating information to document their data adequately. Arrangements to maintain the system need to be made with specialists who have the requisite education and expertise to satisfy both the subject and the computer requirements of the user. The data directory should be available to any individual. The interface between the data directory and the user should be simple enough to allow the casual user to search the system adequately. To help fulfill the recommendation for a national data policy or set of guidelines, a national advisory committee on solid-earth science data should be set up to provide policy oversight through the entire data chain. This committee should be made up of representatives from the diverse sectors of the solid-earth community. It should concern itself with recommending national policy, identifying problem areas, suggesting mechanisms for solving the problems, and strengthening communication of solid-earth science data among government, industry, and academia. It could also review and suggest improvements to research funding policies regarding improved data management. In the area of the educational and training needs in data handling, professional societies, appropriate federal agencies, and colleges and universities need to take a leading role in ensuring that scientific and professional personnel acquire the background needed to use the available technology. Training and experience in data management should be encouraged for students of the solid-earth sciences at an early stage in their education. Most students receive no formal training in data-base management, although most undergraduates now are required to learn one or more computer languages. With a modest adjustment of curriculum, the principles of data management could be incorporated into these programming courses. For earth science students, instruction must concentrate on the creation and manipulation of data bases typical of those they will use later. Federal agencies, professional organizations, and private institutions should work closely with the academic community to strengthen curricula and improve facilities for educating students, educators, researchers, and practitioners in the area of data management. The above discussion has dealt primarily with digital data, but the discussion and recommendations apply in general to any type of earth science data. For example, a national policy or set of guidelines should be established for the acquisition,
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society archiving, and distribution of physical samples—solid, liquid, and gaseous. A distributed national sample management system, parallel to the data management system described above, should be implemented. Where appropriate, it should build on existing sample repositories; an example of such repositories is that established for curation of materials from the Deep-Sea Drilling Program and the Ocean Drilling Program. The problems of sample capture, maintenance, and distribution are much the same as those encountered with digital data and are every bit as pressing. Global Collaboration Major advances in the earth sciences are most likely to originate from better understanding of how the Earth functions as a total system. Therefore, if there is to be an improved interpretation of that system, the energy fluxes that drive it, and the mechanisms that control them, data must be collected and concepts developed at a global scale and integrated into comprehensive models. Although we cannot expect to design an exact model of the Earth, more accurate interpretations can be expected if data sets are global in scope and concepts are tempered by discussions with geoscientists from multiple disciplines and other nations. One of the principal stimuli for the formation and promulgation of international geoscience unions and congresses has been the recognition of a need for systematic geological data exchange and standardization. The phenomenal growth of telecommunications and computer capabilities in recent years has generated both great opportunities and great complications regarding the exchange and standardization of data. U.S. geoscientists must work closely with their foreign counterparts to make global data available on a global basis. The system of World Data Centres established through ICSU is a first step. Cooperative earth science programs between nations must include exchanges of scientists as well as data. In recent years U.S. scientists have had many more opportunities to go to those portions of the globe that had previously been restricted. The restraints facing U.S. scientists are no longer generated principally by a foreign government's political policy or the inaccessibility of a geological terrain. They are more often due to funding limitations or delays within a bureaucratic process. For example, there have been instances of excessively delayed or limited responses by U.S. scientific groups to offers of cooperative studies by the former Soviet Union, its successors, and the People's Republic of China. After many years of scientific isolation, these nations are currently willing to allow foreign scientists to visit and study unique geological features within their boundaries. U.S. geoscientists should be given the opportunity to take advantage of these offers to share access and scientific concepts while cooperative attitudes prevail. U.S. scientists must also recognize that there are languages other than English. The parochial attitude that travelers from the United States have no reason to learn the language of another nation is obsolete. Geoscientists from the United States are obviously handicapped in not being able to understand scientific presentations by their non-English-speaking peers and not being able to read articles in foreign scientific journals. Both undergraduate and graduate curricula at U.S. universities should encourage that foreign-language courses be taken by students anticipating involvement in the earth sciences. In 1982 the National Science Board stated that the United States was at a critical point in its international scientific relationships. This conclusion was based on evidence that: American scientists were no longer leading in many scientific fields; U.S. industry was being significantly challenged in its overall technological capabilities; scientific problems were becoming more global in scope and would have greater impact on the well-being of the United States; cooperation between nations in scientific endeavors would become increasingly important in the short-term; the expanding scales and complexities of scientific problems now required facilities and operations whose costs justified greater international cooperation in sharing the expenses, risks, and benefits; foreign policy considerations were playing an increasing role in the conduct of international scientific activities; and U.S. science and technology policies and programs needed to be coordinated because of their growing interdependence and impact on U.S. national security. The board pointed out in its 1982 report that "maintaining the vigor of the U.S. research effort requires a broad worldwide program of cooperation with outstanding scientists in many nations." The report concluded that "planning for new facilities and the setting of priorities for major scientific investigations and programs should be carried out with the full recognition of the priorities of other countries, and in an environment that encourages complementary or
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Solid-Earth Sciences and Society planned supplementation, cost sharing, and coherence of the various efforts of cooperating countries." There is an obvious need for collaboration between earth scientists on a global scale. Recommendations as to specific means by which such cooperation could be expanded will vary within disciplines and nations. Those topics that involve a broad representation of the geosciences and transcend the nebulous boundaries established between disciplines should be given particular attention. For example, a growing concern of all nations is the impact of increasing populations on our environment. Since many of these problems are worldwide, the solutions require global collaboration. Geoscientists will play an important role in mitigating the effects of high population densities while social scientists and politicians address the causes. Earth scientists will also play increasingly important roles in assembling the crucial data required to make the correct decisions. The United States, as a member of the world community, has a responsibility to aid in resolving such problems. BIBLIOGRAPHY NRC Reports NRC (1983). Toward an International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC (1986). Global Change in the Geosphere-Biosphere: Initial Priorities for an IGBP, U.S. Committee for an International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 91 pp. NRC (1987). Earth Materials Research: Report of a Workshop on Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials, Committee on Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials, Board on Earth Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 122 pp. NRC (1987). International Role of U.S. Geoscience, Committee on Global and International Geology, Board on Earth Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 95 pp. NRC (1988). Space Science in the Twenty-First Century: Imperatives for the Decades 1995 to 2015: Mission to Planet Earth, Task Group on Earth Sciences, Space Science Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 121 pp. NRC (1990). Facilities for Earth Materials Research, U.S. Geodynamics Committee, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 62 pp. NRC (1990). Assessing the Nation's Earthquakes: The Health and Future of Regional Seismograph Networks, Committee on Seismology, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources , National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 67 pp. NRC (1990). Spatial Data Needs: The Future of the National Mapping Program, Mapping Science Committee, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 78 pp. NRC (1990). Research Strategies for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, U.S. National Committee for the IGBP, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 291 pp. NRC (1990). A Safer Future: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters , U.S. National Committee for the Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 67 pp. NRC (1991). Solving the Global Change Puzzle: A U.S. Strategy for Managing Data and Information, Committee on Geophysical Data, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 52 pp. NRC (1991). International Global Network of Fiducial Stations: Scientific and Implementation Issues, Committee on Geodesy, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 129 pp. NRC (1992). A Review of the Ocean Drilling Program Long Range Plan , Ocean Studies Board, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 13 pp. NRC (1992). Toward a Coordinated Spatial Data Infrastructure for the Nation, Mapping Science Committee, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. Other Reports American Geological Institute (1987, 1989). Geoscience Employment and Hiring Survey, AGI, Alexandria, Virginia. World Commission on Environment and Development (1987). Our Common Future, Oxford University Press, 400 pp. ESSC (1988). 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