Geotimes Logo FROM THE EDITOR July 1999

For more than 30 years, Geotimes has devoted one issue every year to highlighting major research of the varied subdisciplines of geology and geophysics. We continue that long tradition …with a slight change. In an effort to accommodate our authors’ schedules (and our own), we moved the issue from February to July. The move will bring us in synch with the academic research year and, we hope, offer a less stressful time to contemplate the previous year’s advances.
   And again, the year was active: The discovery of the 2.5-mm fossil meteorite in a North Pacific deep-sea drill core found smack in the middle of K/T boundary sediments; the continuing debates on the effect of life on the lithosphere in the relatively new field of geomicrobiology; and the paleobotanist’s delight in uncovering Archaefructus liaoningensis, a newly discovered Late Jurassic genus and the earliest evidence of enclosed angiosperm seeds. 1998 was another exciting period of science discovery.
   Although it’s not mentioned in our research summaries, another smashing success of late ‘98 was Earth Science Week, an initiative of the American Geological Institute’s public outreach efforts that occurred October 11-17. The American Geological Institute (AGI) sent more than 15,000 information packets to individuals, AGI member societies, state geological surveys, and numerous geoscience organizations. These participants in turn spread the good word to hundreds of thousands of people eager to learn about Earth. It was truly an idea whose time had come. The participation was fantastic. Thirty-nine state governors made it official with proclamations supporting Earth Science Week. Even the White House, through a message from President Clinton, acknowledged the community effort. Companies supported Earth Science Week activities, encouraging their employees to visit schools and civic organizations to educate students, teachers, and community leaders about how geology touches their lives. Remember to mark October 10-16 on your calendar for this year’s Earth Science Week.
   And finally, a word about this month’s “Comment.” George D. Klein asks: Can we find a cost-effective way to preserve and disseminate the personal libraries of geoscientists when those scientists die or retire or are ready to unload a portion of their collections? Dr. Klein voices a common concern shared by all professional scientists. It just plain kills us to see a lifetime’s worth of books and journals tossed in the trash because we don’t have the small fortune required to box and ship these “info” treasures — not to mention the time necessary to find willing recipients. It really hits home when we know there is a need. We saw the need in 1997 when the waters of Spring Creek meandered through the geoscience stacks of the Colorado State University library, soaking and destroying collections of books and maps. We see it when we get an appeal for journals from a struggling geology department in a lesser-developed part of the world. A number of organizations have raised this issue in the past and even attempted to distribute publications in their disciplines, but efforts typically fall short when the funds dry up. Dr. Klein poses the question: Is it time to establish a central agency to deal with this issue?
 

Good reading.

Victor V. van Beuren



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