Donnerstag, 24. September 2009

Accretionary Wedge #20: Why?

Asked for the ultimate answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, Deep thought, the supercomputer created by the imagination of the science-writer Douglas Adams, asked the far more important question: What is the ultimate question itself?

An wise man once said, a fool can ask more then ten men of science can possibly answer, but a problem and a good question is the first step of scientific research.
Geologist and earth scientists in the past centuries where observing rocks, relatio
nships between them, superposition, unconformities and many other features, and came to ask themselves the apparent simple question: how came this marine limestone on the top of the mountain, why the coasts of the continents resembles the conjunctions of a gigantic jigsaw, where all rocks deposited by volcanic eruptions or sedimented in a quiet ocean basin? Today a part of these questions seems trivial, but still some of them are not conclusively answered. And even if we assume a question is answered, changing also slightly the problem can open the ways to a bunch of new issues.

In a survey carried out on 753 scientist from different nations around the glo
be , the german magazine "Spiegel" asked for the greatest - still unresolved problems in geosciences, and not so surprisingly the results fit quite well with the ultimate questions that trouble the Geoblogosphere:

Lockwood asks directly from Outside The Interzone one of the most important question from a slightly different perspective, not why earth enabled the existence of life, but why life enabled the existence of earth? Without life, this planet wouldn't be "Earth." Or we can ask ourselves, would nonexistings men be concerned about nonexisting earth?

Today Humans were concerned about Earth, especially when geological phenomena threaten their lives and their property - like volcanoes. It seems today elusive, that once volcanoes and their products where considered by earth scientists only as local features, with no significance for the geological evolution of earth - living in quiet central Europe they underestimated the power of this fire mountains - or asked they simply the wrong questions?

Not so Tuff Cookie, introducing us in the burning question how Magma reaches the surface of Earth, and how to study it´s path without X-ray powers and invulnerability. To understand the mechanism of volcanic eruptions may helps to predict and mitigate the impact on our society - a very important question with even more important answers.

And Hypo-theses proposes the ultimate hypothesis: With ongoing research we realized that earth is a complex systems, with factors like the interior structure, the outer crust, the liquid and the frozen hydro- and atmosphere and the biosphere (and humans) interacting among themselves, so ... what would be, if we really understand earth?

Many thanks to all participants for the content and the questions of this edition of the Accretionary Wedge. But don´t panic - at least one important question can be answered now - who is hosting the next Accretionary Wedge?


Lockwood hat gesagt…

Nice one! Thanks for hosting, Dave.

Silver Fox hat gesagt…

Nice Wedge! Sorry I was too tied up to participate. :(