The future of the geosciences and geological research will involve complex scientific challenges, primarily concerning global and regional environmental issues, in the next 20-30 years. It is quite reasonable to suspect, based on current political and socioeconomic events, that young geoscientists will be faced with and involved in helping to resolve some well defined problems: water and energy security, the effects of anthropogenic climate change, coastal sea level rise and development, and the mitigation of geohazards. It is how we choose to approach these challenges that will define our future. Interdisciplinary applied research, improved modeling and prediction augmented with faster and more sophisticated computing, and a greater role in creating and guiding public policy, will help us achieve our goals of a cleaner and safer Earth environment in the next 30 years. In the far future, even grander possibilities for eliminating the risk of certain geohazards and finding sustainable solutions to our energy needs can be envisioned. Looking deeper into the future, the possibilities for geoscience research push the limits of the imagination.
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Treading lightly on shifting ground: The direction and motivation of future geological research