Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

A dilemma: Adapt to nature's constraints or subdue the Earth?

Authors


Abstract

Even the casual reader of Eos cannot fail to be impressed by the breathtaking details with which modern geophysics portrays the everchanging Earth, aided by advancements in many fields. Clearly, these successes are attributable to remarkable developments in the physical sciences, and stemming from them, technologies relating to instrumentation, measurement, quantification, and interpretation. Amidst these accomplishments, it is perhaps of value to reflect on what lies ahead for Earth sciences. We believe that with continued research, we will unravel the Earth's history with ever increasing precision and use the knowledge to develop Earth's natural resources for great benefit to society Until a few decades ago, our research efforts were fervently devoted to the discovery of new sites of natural resources, and efficient methods of extracting large quantities of various Earth materials to satisfy human needs. However, more recent geophysical findings around the world have brought into sharp focus the serious consequences of exploiting finite Earth systems on the resource infrastructure that enables human sustenance.