With the impressive theoretical progress of last decades, the global tectonics is about to reach a state that is quite unique not only for geology but for any descriptive domain of knowledge. This is the state of so high elaboration and maturity that a theory may be subject, like some theories of physics, chemistry, algebra and geometry, to the most rigorous inspection ever suggested in the science – the inspection for being formal sensu mathematical logic. Still, to bring the global tectonics to this state, quite a work remains to be done. This is an exciting cross-disciplinary work of knowledge engineers and geologists that would result in a quite new level of understanding the Earth and new quality of scientific collaboration on it.
However, being so different from all the fields that underwent such “high formalization” so far, the tectonics needs special formal treatment, which, in turn, requires special logico-mathematical formalism complementary to the traditional predicate logic. Thus the scope of this session appears highly cross-disciplinary, claiming for a joint intellectual journey of field geologists, experimentalists and modelers, IT specialists and computer scientists, logicians and mathematicians.
Geoscience witnessed a flurry of major breakthroughs in the 19th and 20th century, leading to major shifts in our understanding of the Earth system. Such breakthroughs included new concepts, such as plate tectonics and sequence stratigraphy, and new techniques, like radiometric dating and remote sensing. However, the pace of these discoveries has declined, raising the question of whether we have now made all of the key geoscience breakthroughs. Put another way, have we reached “Peak Geoscience” and are we now in a time of synthesis, incremental development and consolidation? Or are there new breakthroughs on the horizon? If so what will these developments be?
One key remaining challenge is the management of the inherent uncertainties in geoscience. Despite the importance of understanding uncertainty, it is often neglected by interpreters, geomodellers and experimentalists. With ever-more powerful computers and the advent of big data analytics and machine learning, our ability to quantify uncertainty in geological interpretation, models and experiments will be crucial.
This session aims to bring together those with an interest in the future of geoscience. We welcome contributions from any field of geoscience which either demonstrate a new, disruptive geoscience breakthrough or provide insights into where the next breakthrough will come. We encourage contributions associated with uncertainty in geoscience models and data, machine learning or big data analytics.