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The Scientific Character of Geology Author(s): R. W. van Bemmelen Source: The Journal of Geology, Vol. 69, No. 4 (Jul.

, 1961), pp. 453-463 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: Accessed: 08/01/2010 10:06
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Wer als Geologe lange Jahre mit der Natur allein und intim verkehrt, findet sich immer hijufiger und deutlicher in eine Zwiesprache versetzt, bei welcher sich der andere CLOOs, Einfiihrung in die Geologie, 1936, stets als der Gescheitere herausstellt.-H. p. 2. ABSTRACT In this paper the scientific character of geology is discussed by analyzing the very nature of the interrogation of the earth by the geologist. Geology differs from physics, chemistry, and biology in that the possibilities for experiment are limited. As geology is essentially a historical science, the working method of the geologist resembles that of the historian. This makes the personality of the geologist of essential importance in the way he analyzes the past. This subjective element in geologic studies accounts for two characteristic types that can be distinguished among geologists: one considering geology as a creative art, the other regarding geology as an exact science. Next, the nature of the earth, object of geological studies, is considered. The increasing number of factors playing a role in the various complexes of natural phenomena are the origin of new, so-called emergent, laws and characteristics. Based on this principle of emergence, a hierarchy of sciences can be distinguished: physics-chemistry-geology-biology-psychology. The geologist applies a certain number of general views and concepts which are the rules for his scientific practice. Such premises, however, are less fixed than the natural laws postulated by the basic sciences of physics and chemistry. The geologist is therefore forced to test the validity of the greatest possible number of presuppositions (method of multiple working hypotheses). The principle of "uniformitarianism" and the method of "comparative ontology" are examples of geologic rules. The relations between geology and its sister sciences are shown in figure 2. Finally, the tremendous possibilities of future expansion of geology are indicated.

The working methods of geological science may be dealt with in several ways. It can be approached from a historical point of view by giving a general review of the development of geological concepts and theories. We might consider, for instance, the way in which ideas concerning concrete subjects, such as granite or basalt, have evolved during the course of time. The historical revolution of these concepts is a collective study by scientists throughout the years, in which new theories were mere developments of preceding theories with some added observations. Glangeaud (1949) has termed this procedure "dialectique collective." From a historical point of view a change
1 Manuscript received July 7, 1960.
2 Mineralogical Geological Institute of the State University, Oude Gracht 320, Utrecht, Netherlands.

may be noted in the way science has been practiced. In the heroic period after the Renaissance, science was mainly developed by a number of brilliant individuals who were far ahead of their contemporaries. Today the tendency may be perceived to cooperate, to aim the collective efforts of a team at a common goal. For instance, the Atomic Energy Commission in the United States, the research laboratories of the big industries, the scientific congresses with a central theme of discussion, etc. We could equally well consider the technical development of the means of research. For instance, the introduction of the polarization microscope had an enormous bearing on geology, for it enabled the study of the mineralogical composition and internal structure of seemingly opaque rocks. The modern computing machines and electronic devices will certainly promote the development of geophysical sciences.



GEOLOGICAL NOTES Exact science in its accepted sense is a family of specialized natural sciences, each one of them a study of different aspects by means of somewhat different working methods. Mathematics in its pure sense would not enter into this frame, as its object of study is not nature itself; independent of all observations of the outside world, it attempts to build logical systems based on axioms. In other words, it formulates the language of mathematical symbols and equations which may be applied to the functional relations found in nature. This "mathematization" by applied mathematics is most advanced in physics, which is engaged in general laws of matter and energy on subatomic, atomic, and molecular levels. Chemistry builds further on the physical laws and studies the structural bonds between the elements of matter. Both physicist and chemist are in a position to experiment with the objects of their studies. They are able to carry out controlled observations to verify the supposed functional relations. During these experiments, interfering influences are excluded as far as possible. In this way an artificial environment-an isolated or "closed" system -is created, in which the significance of the individual components can be watched and possibly even measured. Therefore the studied objects of these sciences lend themselves to quantitative description.

However, in this paper we will not discuss further these aspects of geology. We want to focus the attention on the methodology of the interrogation of the earth by the geologist. RESEARCH? WHAT IS SCIENTIFIC Geology is part of that remarkable dynamic process of the human mind which is generally called science and to which man is driven by an inquisitive urge. By noticing relationships in the results of his observations, he attempts to order and to explain the infinite variety of phenomena that at first sight may appear to be chaotic. In the history of civilization this type of progressive scientist has been characterized by Prometheus stealing the heavenly fire, by Adam eating from the tree of knowledge, by the Faustian ache for wisdom. The scientist who is thus driven by the powerful urge to know how nature works may well leave the questions of ultimate reality and truth to philosophers and theologians. The scientist studies the phenomena perceptible by his senses. He just searches for any relationships between phenomena. His experiences are his intimate knowledge which his mind tries to transform into symbolic knowledge, either that of language or that of mathematical formulas (Sir A. Eddington, 1929). If the supposed relationship is sufficiently confirmed by repeated observations, his striving is rightly satisfied (to a certain degree). It is then possible to talk in terms of statistical probabilities or the correctness of the acquired knowledge. In other words, an empirical law or rule of nature is discovered. For the younger scientists the word "science" generally has become a synonym for organized human knowledge. A by-product of the free pursuit of science is an insight as to the optimal possible actions concerning certain objectives, either short-term political and economical actions or the long-term realization of certain ideals. This means the distinction between applied science and pure science or, similarly, applied geology and pure geology.

The arrangement of observed phenomena into a system of relations, that is, into a hypothesis, postulate, or even a theory made to suit these observations, is a mental process called "induction." The functional validity of a working hypothesis is not a priori certain, because often it is initially based on intuition. However, logical deductions from such a hypothesis provide expectations (socalled prognoses) as to the circumstances under which certain phenomena will appear in nature. Such a postulate or working hypothesis can then be substantiated by additional observations or by experiments especially arranged to test details. The value of

GEOLOGICAL NOTES the hypothesis is strengthened if the observed facts fit the expectation within the limits of permissible error. The author calls such expectations and additional observations the prognosis-diagnosis method of research (1952). Prognosis in science may be termed the prediction of the future finding of corroborative evidence of certain features or phenomena (diagnostic facts). This method of scientific research builds up and extends the relations between the subject and the object by means of a circuit of inductions and deductions. A short cut on this circuit is the grouping and classification of the available observations according to some preconceived ideas, in order to find "empiric rules" (fig. 1). There is, however, no universal recipe for scientific advance. It is a matter of groping forward into terra incognita of the outer


world by means of methods which should be adapted to the circumstances, such as the variations in approaches and situations of the research workers. Natural laws and fundamental results of scientific research are of primary importance for both the economy and versatility of our mode of thinking. Large complexes of phenomena are thus reduced to more concise laws of interdependence. However, it is obvious that not a single natural law can have an unlimited validity. Extrapolations of the governing factors may transgress the limits of applicability, and there may be deviations due to the statistical probability.

Experiments in geology are far more difficult than in physics and chemistry because of the greater size of the objects, commonly

or Outer World


Inner World

FIG. 1.-The circuits of scientific research (according to J. F. Schouten, in Bottema et al., 1960) with some alterations by the present author.


GEOLOGICAL NOTES cuts, trenches, mine shafts). This puts the geologic observer at a disadvantage. In collecting the primary geologic data, some personal capacities of the geologist (such as strong physique, perceptive faculties, perseverance, talent for drawing) are generally of much greater importance than in any of the sister sciences, which can rely on the quality of the instruments used in collecting primary data. The great importance of the personality in geology is moreover forcibly required by its being a historical science. As in history, the material in hand remains silent if no questions are asked. The nature of these questions depends on the "school" to which the geologist belongs and on the objectivity of his investigations. Hans Cloos (1949) called this way of interrogation "the dialogue with the earth," "das Gespraich mit der Erde." It is obvious that in this "conversation" the character of the subject may easily assume an importance equal to that of the nature of the object, which is the earth. INTERROGATOR, ROLEOFTHE SUBJECTIVE

outside our laboratories, up to the earth itself, and also because of the fact that the geologic time scale exceeds the human time scale by a million and more times (Hubbert, 1937). This difference in time allows only direct observations of the actual geologic processes, the mind having to imagine what could possibly have happened in the past. This mental picture is by sheer necessity a very simplified image of the processes in nature. Evidently it is not necessary that these processes happened fully in the same way and intensity as we imagined. Nor by such mental experiments can the ancient events be duplicated by laboratory experiments, though the latter certainly have a stimulating effect on our imagination (Kuenen, 1958). Moreover, it should be kept in mind that the natural geologic processes are in reality "open systems," susceptible to various external influences, in contradistinction to the closed systems of our physical and chemical experiments. The kind of factors, their magnitude, and the succession in which they were active have varied from place to place and from time to time. Therefore laboratory experiments with scale models and a definite set of factors have only a restricted value in geology. The latter has to apply other methods of investigation (Haarmann, 1935). The essentially historical character of geology is obvious from the need of interpretation of still observable traces of events that once happened in or on the earth. Since geological thinking tries to mold the past into a distinct mental picture, an element of subjectivity is introduced (Pannekoek, 1956). The disadvantage of incomplete records on which the interpretation of former happenings must be based is as well known in geology as in the study of human history. The geological archives of stone are incomplete, and much information has been wiped out by later events. Moreover, it is often difficult, sometimes impossible, to verify the observations of other geologists because of the inaccessibility of the area or of many outcrops (e.g., road

Two types of scientists are distinguished by Wright (1958): (1) The neat and active scientific investigator who strives for classification of his objects and who wants to force the rigid discipline of certain schemes upon his object of study, and (2) another type, less neat, less enforcing in schematizing the objects of his study, but more receptive. Half a century ago Oswald (1910) distinguished classicists and romanticists among the scientific investigators: the former being inclined to design schemes and to use consistently the deductions from working hypotheses; the latter being more fit for intuitive discoveries of functional relations between phenomena and therefore more able to open up new fields of study.3 Examples of
3 It may be that many "romanticists" possess the so-called "harmonic" temperaments often found in blood group A people, while the "classicists" would have the "rhythmic" temperaments of those

GEOLOGICAL NOTES both character types are Werner and Hutton (Wegmann, 1958). Werner was a real classicist. At the end of the eighteenth century he postulated the theory of "neptunism," according to which all rocks including granites, were deposited in primeval seas. It was an artificial scheme, but, as a classification system, it worked quite satisfactorily at the time. Hutton, his contemporary and opponent, was more a romanticist. His concept of "plutonism" supposed continually recurrent circuits of matter, which like gigantic paddle wheels raise material from various depths of the earth and carry it off again. This is a very flexible system which opens the mind to accept the possible occurrence in the course of time of a great variety of interrelated plutonic and tectonic processes. According to the views of Comte, stated about one and one-half centuries ago, there is a trend, headed by the active and systematic, the classicist type of scientists, to consider physics and chemistry as the only true natural sciences, for example, the only sciences in which most relations can be expressed mathematically and in which the magnitude of the variable and constant factors can be measured. Many in this group may compare geologists and biologists to barbaric stone-age scientists, who, more or less hopefully, struggle along to reach the remote but ultimate goal of total "quantification" and "mathematization." By such classicists the latter are only accepted out of courtesy in the exclusive circle of the exact natural sciences (Wright, 1958). But many geologists still hesitate to go too far in the direction toward "robot-geology"; geology until recently was considered to be "an inexact science and an art" (Link, 1954, p. 2411). A different view has been advanced by Leet and Judson, who say in their textbook


(1954) that "originally geology was essentially descriptive, a branch of natural science. By the middle of the 20th century however, it had developed into a fully fledged physical science, making liberal use of chemistry, physics, and mathematics." Let us look for a synthesis of these apparently divergent views. Much of the practice of geology is a visionary art indeed, since a creative, but scientifically controlled, imagination is required (Goguel, 1951). By means of creative imagination the geologist has to design a number of possible reconstructions of the past events. Some of these have to be rejected again if tentative predictions appear to be contradictory to the subsequently acquired facts. But geology is an exact science too. Many factors of geological phenomena can be measured and grouped in "correlation structures," aspects of which can be treated mathematically. There are three types of correlation structures (Melton, 1958): a) a type with causal relations in which certain forces have a subduing effect upon others (cycles of negative feedback); b) a type in which the causal relations have an amplifying effect (cycles with positive feedbacks); c) a type in which no functional relations between the coinciding phenomena can be discerned. The classicists and the romanticists among the geologists should co-operative by participating in a "team" of partners to investigate the earth. In this way it will be possible to reach some synthesis between the two afore-mentioned views, namely, geology is a creative art versus geology is an exact science.

belongingto blood group B. This most interesting After considering the subjective aspects statistic correlationbetween characterand blood of the geological investigations, we will now group has been derivedfrom the investigationsby direct our attention more to the influence of L. Bourdeland J. Genevay,recently publishedin their book Groupes sanguins et temperaments(Paris, the object, the earth, on the procedure of investigation. Ed. Maloine,1960).


GEOLOGICAL NOTES not be applied to geological processes which are on a lower level in the hierarchy of cosmic evolution. It is quite common in geological jargon to use biological, medical, and even psychological terms, and it would definitely be an impoverishment of geological professional speech if the usage of these terms were abolished. But confusion and misunderstanding are sometimes introduced in this way. By adapting terms from other sciences, a close watch should be kept on ensuring that analogies are not extended beyond scientifically permissible limits. "Mother magmas" with a "monophyletic descent" of igneous rocks, "consanguine" magma provinces, and the like, are geological concepts for which the emergent principles of biological relationship and heredity are not valid. Crystals and rocks do originate, grow, and disintegrate. The liberated elements are then again available for the growth of other materials. This geochemical complex of phenomena on the geologic level holds also for living organisms, their growth and their death. But the geologic level lacks the emergent principle of heredity in biology. The complex of phenomena on the geologic level of evolution does not rise above an extensive network of geochemical cycles in countless forms and dimensions, as was already conceived by Hutton. Whereas the geologists have to be careful of anthropomorphism, the biologists and psychologists must beware of mechanomorphism ("robotism"). Psychic events cannot be studied by the techniques used in the investigation of material objects; therefore new methods of research have to be devised to study its emergent aspects. Nevertheless, psychology nowadays has to be admitted to the rank of science (Walker, 1944,

The very nature of the earth determines the place of geology among the sister sciences. As has been pointed out earlier, physics and chemistry are typical basic sciences, which to a certain extent work with abstractions, that is, isolated reactions between pure matter inside of closed systems. During billions of years, however, the earth has been an "open system" amid a cosmic environment. In this environment matter reacted upon matter in an infinite number of combinations in such a way that ultimately new possibilities and new factors originated, so-called "emergent phenomena." The latter cannot straight away be explained by the natural laws of the basic sciences. An example of such emergent phenomena is the origin of life from non-living chemical compounds in the oldest, lifeless oceans of the earth. Here, aided by the radiation energy received from the sun, countless chemical materials were synthesized and accumulated in such a way that they constituted, as it were, a primeval "soup." In this primeval soup, by infinite variations of lifeless growth and decay of substances during some billions of years, the way of life was ultimately reached, with its metabolism characterized by selective assimilation and dissimilation as end stations of a sluiced and canalized flow of free chemical energy. If one accepts such emergent phenomena with their new possibilities, one sees that the natural sciences tend to possess a certain type of hierarchy in which the rules and laws of the simpler stages are also valid for the higher organized ones, but not vice versa. Physical metabolism of the self-reproducing evolving life, for instance, has certain definite characteristics which make the processes of life differ from test-tube reactions. Psychological processes which are active in the human body give rise to emergent phenomena with regard to the physiological processes on which they are based. On the other hand, the emergent principles of psychology and physiology should

p. 75).
It appears that there is a kind of cosmic evolution with emergent states of organization, a cosmic "anamorphism" (see Van Bemmelen, 1948, fig. 1). At the base is the galactic evolution studied by mathematical physics. Then follow in succession, at descending levels of energy but at higher and

GEOLOGICAL NOTES more complicated levels of organization: the stellar evolution with its nuclear transmutation energy, the planetary evolution with its release of the chemical energy of the electronic shells, the biotic evolution with its sluiced and canalized flow of free chemical energy, and, finally, the psychic energy with its spiritual forces. What will the future bring? Will it bring still higher states of organization, or a cosmic decay-a "katamorphism"? To these questions mankind can give no answers. But the preceding stages of evolution are characterized by emergent phenomena, by means of which the following hierarchy of elements of science can be set up: physics-chemistry -geology-biology-psychology.


Physics and chemistry provide the natural laws which also hold in geology. Additional to those, however, the geologist works with some general concepts which are the more specific rules of the game for his scientific investigations. These concepts, such as the principle of "uniformitarianism," are his guide in the interpretation of the available facts. Because of the higher complexity of the evolution of the earth, our present basic concepts need still more footing and development than those of physics and chemistry. A repeated to and fro between induction and deduction is necessary. According to Beloussov (1958), the progressive development of the earth's crust implies the absence of continents in the far past and the absence of mobile geosynclines in the far future. Our earth system of geochemical processes is not composed of continuously recurring cycles in which "no vestige of beginning and no prospect of an end" can be discovered, as was said by Hutton. The geological evolution is a part of the general cosmic evolution which has an orientated course, according to the second main law of thermodynamics. Therefore the principle of uniformitarianism generally holds good for the not too distant past, in the times that life inhabited our planet (that is, for about one billion years): but still farther back into

the past the divergence between the thenexisting circumstances and the present ones becomes more and more apparent. Because of the great complexity of the processes involved in the earth's evolution, the geologist has to apply "The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses" expounded by the famous American geologist Chamberlin in 1897. For example, there are at least two working hypotheses about the origin of the earth: (1) the so-called cold-earth theory, which says that the earth accumulated from cold cosmic dust and became generally hotter by the energy of impact and radioactivity; and (2) the hot-earth theory, which says that it was hotter after its original condensation from cosmic gases and that it has subsequently been cooling. Also, in the case of the cold-earth theory the moon probably originated by meteoric clustering in an orbit around the earth, and the mare as well as the craters on the moon would be the result of terriffic meteoric impacts. In the case of the hot-earth theory, however, the initial stages of the earth's history will have been characterized by a fierce "archeo-volcanism" at the surface, where matter balanced at the boundary between the molten and the gaseous state. The tidal pull of the sun may have caused the swelling-up of huge blisters along the equator. The moon might have been expelled from the side of the earth by the disrupture of such a blister. The latter was then pushed out by explosive evaporation of its base and left the earth like a huge rocket. According to this hypothesis, at least the maria on the moon are volcanic scars on the side which is facing the earth. At that time the rocket was closed and assumed the form of a sphere by its own gravitational force after having passed the limit of Roche at a distance of 2.4 earth radii (Van Bemmelen, 1948). The consequence expected from this hypothesis is that the side of the moon away from the earth will be smoother and less flooded by archeo-volcanic maria. The observations made by the Russian Lunik seem to confirm


GEOLOGICAL NOTES volcanic evolution, which are now represented in succession by the next parallel belts, each next outer one being in the next younger stage. The significant correlation between the structural and igneous evolution, ascertained by stratigraphical dating of the composing formations, is of great importance for the study of the interaction between tectogenetic and petrogenetic processes. It enables us to visualize the development of a certain belt by studying the geology of the parallel structural zones. In this way the evolution of the Indonesian orogenic systems could be reconstructed, and the relations between plutonic and tectonic processes could be assessed. Table 1 gives the relations between the petrogenetic and the orogenetic evolution of the Indonesian undation systems. In this scheme a correlation is given between igneous, topologic, and orogenic stages of their evolution. As the observational base of such series is formed by the present-day situation and events, the comparative ontology has to be guided by the principle of uniformitarianism. The interpretation of the functional relations between the members of these series are retroactive reasonings toward a fixed goal, namely, the present situation (Bakker, 1947). We have to be very careful in choosing an interpretation (i.e., the step of induction toward a working hypothesis) because a choice from an infinite number of possibilities has to be made, based on the limited amount of available knowledge. The working hypothesis we accept is not necessarily correct, although it may seem to explain satisfactorily the observed phenomena. Geologic phenomena and pathological symptoms are similar insofar that both may have various causes. It is the art of the diagnosing physician to recognize the disease; in the same way the geologist is not allowed to halt at the apparent. Before a sound interpretation is reached, many supplementary investigations and diagnostic observations should be done, perhaps each time starting from a different premise. This is in essence the application of the method of the multiple working hypotheses. The geologist is forced, however, to apply

this prognosis, and this might be in support of the hot-earth-and-moon-rocket hypothesis. Though the cold-earth theory is favored by most contemporary scientists, this example shows the necessity of staying openminded for other hypotheses, each of which has to be tested for its implications and expectations. As Hans Cloos said, in the dialogue with the earth, the latter often appears to be the more clever one. Another frequently used method out of the geologists' repertoire of working hypotheses is the "Method of Comparative Ontology." We pointed out that in the circuit of scientific research, discussed at the beginning of this paper, a promising characteristic common to connected observations is chosen as a basis of comparison; the evidence is then arranged in some series with that characteristic as a yardstick. We then look for relations with series which use other factors as a measure and may find significant correlations. From such correlation structures causative influences can be formulated in a working hypothesis. For instance, because of the slow pace of geological evolution and the complexity of the structures, we now find at the earth's surface next to each other types of rocks and of mountain-building which belong to different stages of the evoltionary series. By comparing their genesis, it is then possible to tell for an individual mountain range in a certain stage of evolution which circumstances might exist in its deeper levels, now inaccessible to our direct observations. We can also attempt to give a more comprehensive picture of its past and to predict to a certain extent its future evolution. In his synthesis of the geology of Indonesia the author (1949) applied this method of comparative ontology in the following form: It appears that the parallel structural belts, composing the mountain or island-arc systems in that archipelago, are in different stages of evolution. They are increasingly younger as they are situated closer to the convex outer side of the system. Each structural belt passed in the course of time through consecutive stages of structural and

GEOLOGICAL NOTES the method of comparative ontology as a method of investigation, for the pace of the geologic evolution is so much slower than the human tempo of living. The geologist is generally unable to study the process itself. He can study only the several stages of its results by observing and comparing the rocks and structures as they are exposed today.


The working methods of geology are also determined by its relations to other natural sciences (fig. 2).

to misuse the subcrustal zones as an asylum for the effects which are to be expected according to bold geotectonic hypotheses. Geochemistry applies the concepts of chemistry to terrestrial circumstances, studying the distribution and circuits of elements in the course of geologic evolution. The reactions between the electronic shells of the elements causing chemical bonds are the leading emergent principle in our planetary evolution as compared with the stellar evolution with its nuclear processes at a much higher energy level (Van Bemmelen, 1948, 1952c). Three more auxiliary sciences of geology










Atlantic suite Ophiolitic suite Pacific suite Mediterranian suite. Plateau basalts
* From Van Bemmelen,

Foreland Foredeep Geanticline(s) Backdeep Hinterland

1950, p. 211.

Prefatory faults Geosynclinal subsidence Orogenic impulse(s) of uplift Late orogenic subsidence Postorogenic faults

Formerly, large areas between the several sciences lay fallow, forming, as it were, a no man's land which could be used, or rather misused, to dispose of controversial problems. The present scientific net is much tighter, leaving less freedom for isolated hypotheses ad hoc. The interpretation of a certain aspect of nature should eventually form a logical part of a harmoniously co-ordinated scientific world picture. The history of the earth is inseparately linked to that of our planetary system, and the gap between astronomy and geology is being filled by cosmogony. Geophysical studies are becoming not only a welcome but more and more a necessary supplement to our geological interpretations of surface surveys. Because of the development of geophysical tools and the increasing wealth of information collected by geophysics, it becomes less and less possible

are created-paleontology, paleogeography, paleoclimatology-by superimposing the time factor of the order of magnitude of geologic evolution on the phenomena studied by biology, geography, and meteorology. Mathematics is indicated as the outer frame of this picture, for it provides the language of symbols in which the natural events can be described quantitatively and exactly. Inside this frame is the family of sciences auxiliary to geology, the center of the picture being occupied by general and applied geology. This diagram is merely an attempt to illustrate the position of geology amid the family of natural sciences. Furthermore, applied geology has many relations with technical, sociological, economical, medical, pharmacological, and other sciences; but these are literally and figuratively on an-


GEOLOGICAL NOTES may be added the geological and geophysical studies of the floor of the oceans and of the polar regions and perhaps also of the surface of the moon. 2. Available geological data may be brought in keeping with newly acquired knowledge and concepts in geology as well as with the advances in other fields of science. The emergent principle of geochemical control of tectonic and geotectonic processes may add to our concepts about the development of the earth's crust.

other level, and they will not be discussed here.


There are three possible methods of advance in the development of geology (Wegmann, 1958). 1. Our current geologic methods and concepts may be extended to new areas of observation. This is a more intensified activity of all branches of geology. To the increasingly detailed investigations of the land areas

FIG. 2.-The

relations of geology with its family of auxiliary sciences

GEOLOGICAL NOTES 3. Technical improvements of investigation may open up new fields of observation to the geologist. The new microscopic and ultramicroscopic observation techniques, the use of computing machines and other electronic devices, and experimental physicochemical and mechanical studies should be mentioned in this relation. Applied geology may help to change the fear of atomic energy as a weapon of universal destruction into hope for mankind by applying it for new strategies to master the needs of raw materials in our industrial era. In addition to the use of the radioactive elements for charging nuclear power stations,


they might be used in the near future for undergroundexplosions in order to increase the mining productionand perhaps to revive apparently exhausted oil fields.
Consequently, pure and applied geology look forward to a tremendous field of activity, and it may confidently be expected that its rather stormy development during the past century is to continue for many years to come.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.-Theauthor wants to thank his colleague C. P. M. Frijlinck for critically reading the manuscript and for his valuable suggestions.


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