2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)
Paper No. 9-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-8:15 AM


BUDDINGTON, Andrew M., Science Department, Spokane Community College, 1810 N Greene Street, Spokane, WA 99217, abuddington@scc.spokane.edu and CHENEY, Eric S., Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Box 35l310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310

Globalization, environmental protection, computerization, national security, and societal relevance have set the table for the third feast of economic geology. Innovative methods of teaching will be the spices. Nonetheless, some old dishes, which have been increasingly omitted in past decades, must be included. The cooking must not be limited to the few institutions with multiple faculty in economic geology that survived the last famine. Instructors with significant field interests should be the chefs.

The ideal undergraduate course should cover the basics of petroleum, coal, metals and non-metals, along with water and how each is relevant to society. Other dishes include the rudiments of extractive and refining methods, as well as new hydrometallurgical processes, measures of profitability, the costs of different modes of transportation, mining and environmental law, and the major national producers and their effect on history and politics. Such a course might be the least geological one in a department. Dessert must emphasize that economic deposits are critical to society and are found in the minds of humans.

Many introductory textbooks now relegate mineral deposits to a last paragraph in a chapter or to a seemingly unrelated chapter. Faculty may choose to exclude resources completely from their curriculum in the attempt to cover the “interesting and important” earth science in an introductory class. At an increasing number of institutions, economic geology either has been or is being phased out of the curriculum. Retiring economic professors are often replaced by geologists from other disciplines to help address enrollment issues based on the present day job markets. But diners are already critically needed for the third feast of economic geology. In essence, many faculty and departments are neglecting one of the more critical disciplines relative to the future of society and the global environment. New cooking techniques such as an interdisciplinary approach combining political science, economics, and/or history with a resource-based earth science curriculum will indeed address the complexities of globalization, the environment, and the increasing demand for geologic resources world wide.

2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 9
Addressing Present and Future Energy, Mineral, and Water Issues in the Classroom: The Need to Prepare Both Educated Citizens and Geoscientists
Pennsylvania Convention Center: 113 B
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Sunday, 22 October 2006

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 7, p. 32

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