A textbook definition of geoscience might state, “Geoscience is the scientific study of the Earth.” Such definitions are uninspiring, and they also fail to capture the range and importance of geoscience. Here are two far better options. “Geoscience concerns the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shaped the Earth’s past and present,” or “Geoscience seeks to understand how the Earth works and apply this knowledge to unraveling the planet’s history and anticipating its future.” All three definitions touch upon the essential characteristics of geoscience: (1) geoscience is interdisciplinary, utilizing knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology to understand the Earth as it exists today; (2) geoscience has a strong historic component concerned with the history of the Earth (and other planetary bodies) from their origins ...

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