2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


KLUESSENDORF, Joanne, University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, Weis Earth Science Museum, 1478 Midway Rd, Menasha, WI 54952 and MIKULIC, Donald G., Illinois State Geol Survey, 615 E Peabody Dr, Champaign, IL 61820-6964, jkluesse@uwc.edu

Preservation related to the geological sciences includes a wide variety of elements that are becoming increasingly important to the profession and to the public as earth scientists play a greater role in land-use planning and other societal issues. Geological preservation can be divided into three general subjects, each with its own unique problems and potential solutions: 1) samples, 2) sites, and 3) data. The ability to access samples, data and sites for everything from scientific research to public works projects is becoming more critical as budgets become increasingly constrained.

Samples, ranging from dinosaur fossils in museum exhibits to thesis-generated petrographic specimens in geology department cabinets, have received the bulk of the attention so far. As the basis for much of the research that has been done in the past and much to be done in the future, samples are generally recognized as having value. However, the effort to insure their proper documentation and future availability is seldom made.

The prominent geologic features that played a major role in the development of many parks throughout the U.S. are among the most visible subjects of preservation. Compared to these exceptional geologic sites, however, many other sites with research, education, or recreation value have received no protection and are being lost in ever-increasing numbers to urban and suburban development throughout the country.

Geologic data preservation has experienced an erratic past, and technological changes are creating new potential problems for their long-term safekeeping. The institutional preservation of records such as field notes has been inconsistent, with government agencies having been the most responsible. In contrast, the majority of this primary information has largely disappeared in academia.

Although there have been some recent efforts to examine particular issues of geologic preservation at a national level, the full scope of these issues has not been addressed. A much more comprehensive approach is needed to properly identify, define, and remedy preservation concerns for the good of the profession and the public.