Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ten Questions Shaping 21st-century Earth Science Identified

ScienceDaily (Mar. 15, 2008) — Ten questions driving the geological and planetary sciences were have been identified in a new report by the National Research Council. Aimed at reflecting the major scientific issues facing earth science at the start of the 21st century, the questions represent where the field stands, how it arrived at this point, and where it may be headed.
* How did earth and other planets form?
* What happened during earth's "dark age" (the first 500 million years)?
* How did life begin?
* How does earth's interior work, and how does it affect the surface?
* Why does earth have plate tectonics and continents?
* How are earth processes controlled by material properties?
* What causes climate to change -- and how much can it change?
* How has life shaped earth -- and how has earth shaped life?
* Can earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and their consequences be predicted?
* How do fluid flow and transport affect the human environment?
Adapted from materials provided by The National Academies

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