While geologists traditionally have focused their research on the materials that constitute the earth’s crust, modern geoscience has probed deeper and wider. Today, geoscience is an interdisciplinary field that addresses issues well beyond the investigation of earthquakes and the search for oil. Now, oceanographers; meteorologists, and paleobiologists, as well as geologists, study geophysical signatures to gain a better understanding of subjects such as the origin and evolution of the planet, the flow of groundwater, and the history of animal and plant life.

To find out which areas of geologic research have changed their shape and substance most radically in recent years, The Scientist searched the 1988 Research Front Database developed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Philadelphia. The review aimed to identify the “hottest” geoscience specialties—those that exhibited highest immediacy. Immediacy is a measure of the average age of the foundation literature—or “core” publications—that the current-year papers in each...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?