Oil, the environment, and attrition may create a demand for geoscientists that will reverse a 7-year decline in the field
As growing environmental problems and the search for oil outside the Persian Gulf place heavy demands on the geosciences, geologists say that education in their field is being revitalized, fueling new opportunities for undergraduate research. They now hope that their effort to attract students has arrested a precipitous seven-year decline in the number of geosciences graduates.

For several years in the 1970s and early 1980s, enrollment in the geosciences had climbed steadily to a peak of 36,000 in 1983. In less than a decade, however, that number has dropped by almost two-thirds, with 1990 figures from the American Geological Institute (AGI) Student Enrollment Survey showing a total of 13,055 geoscience undergraduates.

Even so, geologists believe their field is beginning to grow again. "It looks like the decline has bottomed out,"...

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