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1. INTRODUCTION This report addresses all three aspects of international activities in the geosciences--basic research, economic applications, and the potential role of geosciences in fostering U.S. interests abroad. Because the three aspects are closely intertwined, the current deficiencies and the possible remedies are also intertwined. Science is global; the laws of physics hold throughout the world. Thus scientists, especially those pursuing basic research, have a desire and a need for international communication. Because the world is their laboratory? the earth sciences, including the solid, liquid, and gaseous earth, benefit greatly from worldwide study and international communication. Of these, the study of the solid earth, the geological sciences, is in a period of rapid development occasioned by the advent of plate tectonics. The concept of plate tectonics developed over the past 20 years has matured and has provided geologists with a credible theory and dynamic model that ties together the motions of continents, the origin of mountains and earthquakes, and the formation of many mineral deposits. To understand the components of this global model, the geologist must go where they are best displayed and communicate with colleagues from those areas. Other geologic topics that are studied best on a global scale include volcanism, earthquakes, climatic cycles (including the glacial epochs of the recent geologic past), intercontinental correlation of geologic strata, and the action of survival processes on different landscapes under varying climatic conditions. It was against this background that the Committee on Global and International Geology set out to investigate the perception that American participation in international geoscience activities was diminishing. It quickly became obvious that the general perception is true even though verifiable precise figures are difficult to obtain. Actual attendance at major congresses fluctuates rather widely depending on the time of year, geographic locale, and the presence or absence of other ''inducements" (such as exchange rate)--and no real trend can be documented by the rough figures for attendance at general s
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6 sessions of unions such as the IUGG and JUGS.* The decline becomes apparent when one talks to panel members for cooperative projects who have had to forego important symposia planning meetings or workshops due to lack of travel support. Our descriptions, therefore, are anecdotal rather than quantitative, but they all point in the same direction, i.e., U.S. activities in the international aspects of the geosciences are decreasing. The geosciences are vital to the welfare of all nations and should play an important role in a nation's economic and foreign policies. This has been recognized by many European countries, Japan, and the Soviet Union, all of whom have active programs related to the technical and material sources of the developing countries through cooperative projects, scientific exchanges, aid to their nation's private firms involved in developing markets, and more indirect means. Clearly, the United States needs to awaken to the role of the geosciences in the conduct of foreign affairs and the advancement of our economic interests overseas. It was the realization of this aspect of U.S. activity that persuaded the committee to interpret its charge broadly, and to emphasize "participation in all aspects of global and international geology." The committee has summarized what it considers to be the major components of current civilian actions in American geoscience abroad. Discussion of activities directly related to national defense has been omitted, although the committee believes that the United States could benefit from international geoscience programs in this area too. For the sake of brevity, there is only limited discussion of the affairs of international societies because these are better known than are the activities of, for example, the regional research officers of the State Department or the compilation of data on foreign mineral deposits by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. These latter activities are summarized in the context of this report. Finally, the committee has tried to point out in its recommendations not only the problems that need resolution but also how that resolution might be accomplished. *Actual numbers at IUGG have varied between 400 and 800 over the past 20 years, but the totals seem to reflect the place and time more than any other factor. Similarly JUGS (Congress) figures range between 350 and 750, the high figure coming from the very popular Copenhagen meeting in 1960.
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