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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