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4. INTERNATIONAL GEOSCIENCE ACTIVITIES IN U.S. SCIENTIFIC INTERESTS BACKGROUND tor its continued progress ~ . . . Geoscience, more than exclusively laboratory-based sciences, depends on global investigations and international research cooperation ~ ~ ~ . Therefore, effective study and application or geoscience requires its practitioners to travel. Geoscientists must observe and study rocks in their natural environment to fully understand their origin, composition, and geometric configurations, and from such data to understand the processes that have shaped the Earth. The more opportunities geoscientists have to examine geological phenomena in different parts of the world, the more perceptive their interpretations will be. Modern modes of transportation and communication make it easier for the geologist to travel and to share scientific information and ideas with colleagues in other countries. But a misunderstanding of proposals for international scientific efforts and travel exists among some program administrators and funding officials. This attitude stems in part from a mistaken notion that geology is a purely descriptive science and that there is no basis for conducting field investigations abroad when much of the United States remains geologically unmapped. This conception is incorrect and is particularly harmful today. The development of the plate tectonics model has revolutionized geoscience thinking and created a picture of the earth as a whole. No longer do geoscientists view the ocean basins as immutable and the continents as fixed. Although plate tectonics was proposed only about 20 years ago, the concept is already accepted by most geoscientists. Briefly, plate tectonics postulates that the earth's crust is divided into discrete segments or plates that move continually. The separation of plates along m~d-ocean ridges leads to the formation ot new crustal material collision at continental boundaries causes mountains to rise, and slippage along other boundaries creates earthquake-prone zones such as the San Andreas fault in California. Plate tectonics provides an explanation for such features as deep submarine trenches, similarities between rocks in northeastern North America and northwestern the wide variety of Geologic terraces in Alaska and the Europe, ~ 7 ~ _ the presence of warm-water fossils in the ancient rocks of Antarctica. 28

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29 Development of the plate tectonics concept has been described as a revolution in the earth sciences, with an effect equal to that created in biology by Darwin's theory of natural selection. The concept itself is a product of global studies by geoscientists from many countries, and the World-Wide Standard Seismic Network and the U.S.-initiated Deep Sea Drilling project have provided considerable scientific data for testing the model. Acceptance of the plate tectonic theory does not resolve all questions regarding the composition and structure of the earth's crust. As with most scientific hypotheses, the concept reveals a new generation of unsolved geologic problems. It also demonstrates the need for global research. For example, collisional tectonics are not active in the United States today. Yet episodes of past tectonic collisions are recorded in some of our mountain chains. Geoscientists need to examine the rocks and the structures in areas where processes of collision are still active, such as in the Himalayas, in order to better interpret the sequence of tectonic events that produced some of the mountain ranges in North America in older geologic eras. Continuing applications of the plate tectonics concept have emphasized the need for expanded U.S. participation in international geoscience programs, including on-site visits by American geoscientists to research locales in other countries. There are other important reasons why geoscientists from the United States should take part in global investigations and international cooperative endeavors. Geology is a science that can aid in resolving some of the fundamental problems that confront human society in almost all parts of the world. The identification and assessment of mineral and energy resources; the development of early warning systems to mitigate the damaging effects of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and seismic sea waves; and the application of geoscience knowledge to urban land use studies are examples of ways in which the geosciences can contribute to the world's welfare. When U.S. geoscientists contribute to solving such problems in other parts of the world, they provide valuable assistance to local scientific colleagues and government officials. They also gain useful knowledge that can be applied to similar problems in the United States. Finally, geoscience, like all fields of science, flourishes best in an environment of free and open communication. Conversations with geologists from other countries at scientific meetings, and especially on field excursions can be a source of inspiration for new research or can suggest alternative solutions to difficult scientific problems. Graduate study abroad, faculty exchanges, and the sharing of geoscience data and reports with foreign colleagues are among the ways in which the United States can maintain a mutually beneficial international flow of scientific ideas. Many mechanisms already exist to facilitate global geoscientific studies and international cooperation. The problem is to assure that such devices are well publicized and appropriately funded and that potential users are encouraged to become involved.

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30 EVOLUTION OF INTERNATIONAL GEOSCIENCE ACTIVITIES In the early years of the nineteenth century, geology was still a fledgling science with only a few geologists in the United States. Most of these could best be described as natural scientists, with training in chemistry, physics, or mathematics. They had an entire continent to explore and describe. It is little wonder that they and their immediate successors were scarcely concerned with field investigations in other parts of the world or with cooperative scientific research investigations with foreign colleagues. These conditions slowly changed. After the Civil War geoscientists became more numerous, and by the time the Geological Society of America was founded in 1888, there were perhaps 200 geologists in North America (Eckel, 1982, p. 7~. Graduate education became more common, and many Americans went to Europe for advanced training. Those who traveled to Europe had opportunities to exchange information and opinions with European scientists and to study classic geologic areas in the Alps, Scandinavia, and elsewhere. They returned home to educate a generation of earth scientists, and set in motion the geologic exploration and resource development of a continent. THE INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGICAL CONGRESS With the growth of geological research in both America and Europe came a recognition of the need for a world standardization of rock nomenclature and map symbols, lest the science degenerate into provincial and incompatible fragments (Greene, 1982, p. 193~. The time was appropriate for the creation of an international geological organization. This matter was discussed by a small international group of geoscientists chaired by the venerable American geologist, James Hall, at a meeting in Buffalo in 1876. Recognizing the need for an international geological conference to establish rules for compiling geological maps and for creating rock nomenclature and geological terms, the Buffalo group called on the Geological Society of France for assistance. The society responded by forming an organizing committee to plan an International Geological Congress to be held in conjunction with the Paris Exposition of 1878. This first International Geological Congress (IGC) was convened on August 29, 1878, at the Trocadero Palace in Paris, with an attendance of slightly more than 300 geologists from 22 countries, including 8 from the United States. The 1878 IGC council established three commissions to recommend (1) international standards for geological maps, (2) standards for geological terms, and (3) rules for assigning names to paleontological and mineral species, and asked these commissions to submit their proposals to the next congress (Congres International de Geologie, Paris, 1878~. A pattern was set that was to serve the geological profession for many years. The congresses were held generally at 3-year intervals until the start of World War I. Then, after a lapse of nearly a decade, they

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31 were revived (in 1922) on a 4-year cycle, and, except for the period of World War II, they have continued to the present. The United States has hosted 2 of the 26 congresses that have been held to date--the fifth in 1891 and the sixteenth in 1933. Both of these meetings were in Washington, D.C. It has been over 50 years since an International Geological Congress met in the United States, and, in the view of many geoscientists, we are overdue to again serve as host. An invitation has been issued by the National Academy of Sciences, and the twenty-eighth IGC will meet in Washington, D.C., in July 1989, but governmental support at a level comparable with that provided by the governments of other host countries is not yet assured. THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES The format and frequency of the meetings of the International Geological Congress served the world geoscience community adequately for many decades. But the congress lacked mechanisms for activities and communication between sessions. A more permanent type of organization was needed. After an unsuccessful attempt in 1952, a proposal to create what is now the International Union of Geological Sciences (JUGS) was approved by the twenty-first congress in 1960 (JUGS, 19611. The principal objectives of JUGS are to (1) encourage and promote the study of geological problems, (2) facilitate international cooperation in geological research, and (3) collaborate with the International Geological Congress in safeguarding the long-established activities of the congress. The first of these objectives has been promoted through the work of 10 JUGS commissions and 3 committees concerned with various aspects of the geosciences. The second has been aided by programs involving its 23 affiliated scientific associations, by cooperative endeavors with other scientific unions through the auspices of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), and by working with UNESCO and other intergovernmental organizations. In recent years, JUGS has established a Research Development Program, a series of annual seminars, and an expanded publication program to enhance the level of international cooperation in basic research and in the application of research results to the solution certain societal problems, e.g., mineral resource identification, assessment of geological hazards, and the exchange of methods of management of geoscientific data. - As a nongovernmental international body, JUGS is represented in the United States by the National Academy of Sciences and has maintained close relations with the USGS. Its status as a nongovernmental organization has enabled JUGS to concentrate on scientific problems and largely to avoid political controversy, but it also has hindered the union in obtaining the level of funding needed to provide adequate support for its geoscientific research program. Since its inception in 1960, U.S. geoscientists have participated

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32 actively in JUGS. Three have been elected as officers, and others have served as chairmen or members of various boards, commissions, and committees. THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF GEODESY AND GEOPHYSICS U.S. geoscientists have also participated extensively in the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), an older sister union within the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). The JUGS and IUGG have been closely associated in several programs sponsored by ICSU. Currently they are cooperating in a major international scientific program on the origin, evolution, and dynamic processes of the lithosphere, through joint membership in the Interunion Commission on the Lithosphere (JCL) organized by ICSU in 1980. The objectives of IUGG are to promote and coordinate physical, chemical, and mathematical studies of the earth and its immediate spatial environment. IUGG is concerned with the earth's geometrical shape; gravity and magnetic fields; internal structure and seismicity; volcanism; hydrologic cycle and glaciers; oceans, atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere; solar terrestrial relations; and studies related to the moon and planets. Cooperative studies in these subjects are conducted by seven semiautonomous associations, each responsible for a specific range of studies within the overall scope of IUGG interests. U.S. geologists and geophysicists have participated most actively in the International Association on Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI), the International Association on Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI), and the International Association on Hydrological Sciences (IAHS), each of which has close working relations with affiliates of JUGS. In the United States, adherence to IUGG has been actively maintained by the National Academy of Sciences through the American Geophysical Union, and until recently the Geophysics Research Board of the National Research Council leas maintained an overview of many of the programs with which IUGG is involved. THE IGY AND ITS SUCCESSORS The International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-1958, sponsored by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), set a new pattern of post-World War II international cooperation in earth science research. Although focused primarily on the atmospheric sciences, oceanography, and solid-earth geophysics, the IGY showed the potentials of a well-defined, time-restricted, global research program in marshaling financial, logistical, and scientific resources. The IGY was followed by the Upper Mantle Project, 1962-1970, also sponsored by ICSU, which concentrated on the earth's crust. Then the JUGS joined with International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) to organize the International Geodynamics Project (1971-19799. The

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33 Geodynamics Project was in turn succeeded in 1980 by the decade-long International Lithosphere Program, concerned primarily with the continental crust and its mineral resources, also directed by an ICSU interunion commission. These international geoscience research programs have become a principal channel for cooperation between U.S. geoscientists and their foreign colleagues. American geoscientists have made substantial contributions to the planning and execution of the programs and have benefited from the opportunities thus provided for conducting research on a global scale and for exchanging of scientific data and concepts. However, the ICSU-sponsored research programs have been severely handicapped by inadequate financial support. THE INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGICAL CORRELATION PROGRAM The International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) is special in that it has dual sponsorship. Begun about 15 years ago by JUGS, IGCP was originally designed to improve worldwide stratigraphic correlations. This objective was foundering from lack of money when UNESCO offered to co-sponsor the program and to provide a substantial increase in its financial support. Therefore, since 1973 IGCP has been a joint endeavor of JUGS and UNESCO, with the JUGS giving scientific direction and overview and UNESCO contributing funds and maintaining the program secretariat. The program includes many types of investigations whose scope transcends national boundaries. Unlike the Geodynamics Project or the Lithosphere Program, IGCP is an open-ended activity. The UNESCO affiliation makes possible the participation in IGCP of certain counties that tend to favor programs sponsored by intergovernmental rather than nongovernmental bodies. The participation of geoscientists from Third World countries is an important aspect of the IGCP. Some U.S. geoscientists have participated prominently in this excellent program, but current funding is inadequate. Earth System Science A particularly exciting new global development is the recognition of Earth System Science, closely linked to an International Council of Scientific Unions initiative on the Geosphere and Biosphere (National Research Council, 1986~. Awareness of phenomena such as the rising carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is forcing atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, geologists, and ecologists to work together in an unprecedented way. The developing Earth System Science Program, which has been enthusiastically welcomed by many federal agencies including NSF, NASA, NOAA, and the USGS, has defined as its goal (NASA, 1986~: To obtain a scientific understanding of the entire Earth System on a global scale by describing how its component parts

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34 and their interactions have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to continue to evolve on all time scales. INTERGOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES International geoscience research activities are sponsored by various intergovernmental organizations, e.g., UNESCO, other United Nations bodies, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). UNESCO earth-science program has been viewed by knowledgeable U.S. geoscientists as one of the better designed and more successful programs within the UNESCO science sector, although it has suffered from the pervasive UNESCO flaws of poor management, excessive administrative costs, and politicization. American geoscientists have not been prominent in UNESCO-sponsored earth-science activities, except for the IGCP. How the United States withdrawal from UNESCO will affect U.S. geoscience interests remains conjectural, but to date we have not developed a plan for alternative action. AGENCY-SPONSORED PROGRAMS The impetus of World War II propelled the United States into the forefront of many international activities, including the geosciences. As noted in Chapter 2, the war itself prompted activities in strategic mineral supplies by the USGS and the Bureau of Mines and in the military application of geology by the USGS. Immediately after the war, the policy of aiding less-developed countries led to a foreign assistance program, sponsored through the Department of State and carried out largely by the USGS, to help identify and develop resources both for the benefit of those countries and to ensure a better supply of raw materials to the industrialized nations. Although these programs were focused on practical goals, they had important effects on both research and education in the United States. They not only provided the United States with valuable updated geologic and mineral information from other parts of the world, they also established personal contacts for fostering mutually beneficial technical activities. Concomitant with the foreign aid programs, a newly awakened interest in basic scientific research led to increased support for travel to international meetings, especially through the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation (NSF), though by no means limited to them. In the 1960s, the NSF took the lead in developing programs such as Foreign Exchange Fellowships and Foreign Field Institutes. Direct research support was provided in some countries through the use of foreign currencies as specified in Public Law 480. Finally, as the heads of governments became increasingly aware of the ever-growing importance of science and technology, a number of bilateral agreements were made between the United States and other countries, e.g., Japan, Yugoslavia, and most recently, China, for

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35 cooperative efforts in selected areas of science. In most of these cooperative efforts, the management of the U.S. portion of the research program was delegated to the NSF or to several agencies including the NSF. THE S I11JATION TODAY Today, the geosciences and mineral development have been virtually eliminated from the American foreign aid programs; travel support to attend overseas meetings has been reduced; programs such as NSF's Foreign Exchange Fellowships and Foreign Field Institutes have been eliminated; foreign currencies available through Public Law 480 either have been spent or their use has been restricted; and funding for the bilateral cooperatives has been given no special appropriation but must compete with the regular programs of NSF or other agencies. As a result, the United States is losing some of its contacts with foreign scientists, contacts that are often the first step in developing mutually beneficial efforts in science and in commercial applications. The committee recognizes that lack of funding is not the only problem. For reasons such as health, security, and terrorism, some U.S. geoscientists are reluctant these days to consider positions or research that involves working and living in other countries. Such a trend can slowly erode the number of geoscientists familiar with the geology of various parts of the world. As members of a prosperous and technologically advanced nation, we should assist less developed countries. This obligation is not altogether altruistic, because raising the scientific competence of other countries in the development of their natural resources will also benefit the United States. The trend can be reversed. Young geoscientists who have interests in international work should be encouraged. For example, one reason many younger geoscientists are not pursuing foreign projects is because they have not made the critical personal contacts and are unfamiliar either with the relevant geologic problems or with the mechanisms of obtaining foreign employment. A mechanism should be established whereby interested geoscientists can be encouraged to visit foreign countries to establish contacts that would lead ultimately to scientific cooperation. Young geoscientists should be especially encouraged, because early involvement in international cooperative studies commonly sets a pattern for continued interest and study. Above all we need a stable policy concerning international geoscience activities. SUGARY It is impractical to identify all the contributions that global geological studies and international cooperation have made to the development of the United States. How would one document, for example, the exciting new scientific insights that were obtained by those U.S. geologists who traveled abroad in the nineteenth century and who were

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36 hosts to visits by foreign colleagues? How would one measure the cumulative benefit of attendance by American scientists at International Geological Congresses for over a century? On a topical basis, answers are more easily found. For example, the investigation of earthquakes in the western United States and efforts to devise a reliable method of predicting them have been aided by similar studies conducted by Japanese geoscientists. U.S. geologists have obtained a better understanding of mountain-building processes from field investigations in the Alps, the Andes, and the Himalavas. The study of Glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica has ~ , _ ~ ~ provided new clues for interpreting the record of glacial epochs and related climatic patterns in North America. On a more practical level, information gained by U.S. geologists from the study of copper deposits in Chile, coal deposits in Poland, petroleum deposits associated with freshwater lake beds in China, and phosphate rock in Morocco has been applied to the investigation of these mineral and energy resources within our own borders. Participation in international scientific programs, such as the Continental Lithosphere Program and IGCP, is another method of enhancing U.S. capability. Conferences on currently important topics have the added advantage of focusing the attention of geologists from all parts of the world on specific geological problems. Periodic international meetings such as the International Geological Congress allow U.S. geologists to appraise and benefit from the work of foreign rn11 =~=ll~C At the ==m" time Am='ir~n e"~1 ski a~= "ether" the _ _ _ _ _ ~ O ~ _ ~ ^ Ace_ _ _ _ ~~ ^ O _ _ _ _ ~ _ _ _ ~ _ ~ ~ ~~ ~~ _ __ scientific reputation of the United States by sharing their geological knowledge and expertise with scientists from other countries. The scientific challenge that confronts geologists of the world today is to decipher the history of the earth from its beginning to present time. The record of earth events during this period of about 4.5 billion years is fragmentary at best. To carry out this assignment, geologists must travel to places where fragments of the record can be found and must seek the cooperation of fellow scientists in all countries. The entire world is, indeed, the geologist's laboratory. Geology is burgeoning with opportunities for both pure and applied studies, and that laboratory must be used more effectively than at any time in the past. the