Despite historical linkages, the fields of geology and soil science have developed along largely divergent paths in the United States during much of the mid- to late-twentieth century. The shift in recent decades within both disciplines, towards greater emphasis on environmental-quality issues and a systems approach, has created new opportunities for collaboration and cross-training. Because of the importance of the soil as a dynamic interface between the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere, introductory and advanced soil-science classes are now taught in a number of Earth and environmental science departments. The National Research Council's recent report, Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science, highlights the soil zone as part of the land surface to groundwater 'critical zone' requiring additional investigation. To better prepare geology undergraduates to deal with complex environmental problems, their training should include a fundamental understanding of the nature and properties of soils. Those undergraduate geology students with an interest in this area should be encouraged to view soil science as a viable Earth-science specialty area for graduate study. ?? The Geological Society of London 2006.
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From agricultural geology to hydropedology: Forging links within the twenty-first-century geoscience community