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Book Chapter

The Look Ahead

January 01, 1932


The "unknowns."—The historian in earth-science JL evolution may properly assume the role of seer, because the only basis for conjecture of the future progress lies in the incomplete studies of the past, along with the present status.

The "unknowns" of the earth laboratory are comprised in a few groups of broader scope, and most of the problems relating to the planet can not be resolved by strictly geologic evidence and methods. The strati-graphic record of the earth's history since preCambrian time, once the principal theme of geology, now offers only details for future discovery, and the life history on the globe is well known in its principal elements. Like geography, mineralogy, botany and zoology, stratigraphy and paleontology have already made their great discoveries.

The present interrogations of the world of scientific curiosity are mainly biologic and geophysical. The biologic problems are in the province of the biologists and chemists. The physical questions belong to the physicists and mathematicians.

Geologic Time.>—The inevitable question, "How long ago?" can not as yet be answered. All studies have only increased the estimated length of geologic time, stretching it to a thousand million years. The later data are found in the atomic disintegration in the uranium minerals. The discovery of a tapeline of geic and cosmic time would be of much psychologic and sentimental interest ; yet of little real importance, for the length of such time in years is too great for human appreciation.

The Earth's Future.—Whether long or short, how and when, is

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The Geological Society of America, 1888-1930

Herman LeRoy Fairchild
Herman LeRoy Fairchild
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Geological Society of America
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January 01, 1932




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