The turn of the millenium is for many of us an occasion to pause and consult the crystal ball. Sedimentary geologists have added incentive to do so because the calendar event coincides with a profound change in what one may call our professional hinterland, the part of society that requires our expertise and offers jobs.

Sedimentary geology and its sister, paleontology, originated as historical sciences, dedicated to the study of the sediment record as a history book of the evolution of life and the changing environments at the Earth's surface. To this day, deciphering earth history remains a principal task...

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