What are the geosciences?
Geoscience is the science of exploration, discovery, and Earth stewardship. The geosciences address all issues relating to Earth Systems, including the solid Earth, oceans, and atmosphere. The major applications of the geosciences are: exploration and responsible development of natural resources (oil, gas, coal, minerals, construction aggregate, water, soil), preservation of the natural environment, restoration from environmental damage, mitigation of geohazards such as earthquakes and landslides, and exploratory research like the Mars space mission and understanding El Niño.
By addressing these issues and developing solutions to problems affecting the Earth, geoscientists act as stewards of the Earth. Though much has been learned about the Earth through earth science, much more is yet to be discovered, especially as new problems face society, such as global climate change, advances in technology, and exhaustion of energy and raw material supplies.
Plan to Purchase a Home or other Property?
- You should investigate your property to look for evidence of ground (or mass) movement, which can cause problems in the future, especially if you have a basement or if the home is built on a slope.
- You should find out all you can about your water source. If it is a well, you should investigate the aquifer and find out it if has been polluted.
- If you have a septic tank, you should ensure that it is not affecting your water source or that of your neighbors.
- You should find out about drainage on your property to guard against a wet or leaky basement.
- If buying property near a river, lake or ocean, investigate the flooding history of that river. You will need to pay special attention to insurance when living in a flood plain.
Making Decisions about Public Policy?
- Many ballot issues, such as those involving environmental protection, land use, and parks and recreation, can be voted on more intelligently with some knowledge of geology. You will be able to intelligently judge the balance between exploitation of natural resources and protection of wilderness areas.
- Decisions made by home-owner associations that involve digging of ponds, filling in of ponds and wetlands, rerouting streams, etc., need to be evaluated by someone who knows something about geology.
- Members of local zoning boards, county commissioners, city council members, city planners, and township trustees, all can make better decisions about water use, road and bridge building and repair, and sewer and septic installation.
Careers in Law, Engineering, Architecture, Land Developers
- Any kind of environmental legislation or litigation requires some knowledge of geology.
- Engineers and architects need to have some familiarity with geological principles when planning buildings, roads, housing developments. Failure to fully account for geological issues can be costly.
Leisure Time, Recreation, and Family Life
- Most of the parks in this country are in some aspect geologically important. Almost all of the National Parks encompass geological wonders such as canyons, deserts, mountains, glaciers, rock arches and bridges, volcanoes, and coral reefs. Knowledge about the processes that formed these structures greatly enhances your vacation and leisure experience.
- Kids love geology! They enjoy minerals, rocks, fossils, movies, books about dinosaurs, and trips to Natural History Museums. Amaze them with your knowledge!
Evaluation of Natural Resources
- Knowledge about available petroleum and coal reserves can make you a smarter consumer and can help you to make decisions on candidates during elections.
- You can learn how to save money with some information about conserving natural resources.
Be Environmentally Friendly
- You don’t have to join Greenpeace, but you can make more intelligent decisions about recycling, insulating your home and water heater, installing storm windows and doors, buying energy-efficient appliances, and buying fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Recycling makes sense! Even if you don’t believe in or care about global warming, you can help save resources and your own money with a little geological knowledge.