Geochemistry in Geological Surveys into the 21st Century

Geochemistry has a important role to play in Geological Survey activities in the 21st Century. However, as distinct from the 20th Century, environmental issues may eventually become more important than resource issues in sustainable development decision making; in fact this has already happended in some countries. Surveys in countries with active mineral industries that provide employment opportunities for their communities will need to maintain geochemistry expertise concerning mineral exploration, especially the search for deeply buried resources. However, all Surveys will be required to provide, and should take on responsibility for providing, natural process expertise so that ecosystem and human health risk assessment and management decisions are properly informed, and that policy and regulation are founded on sound science. With blobalization a feature of the late 20th Century and current times, there will be increasing demands for data and information at global scales to ensure various aspects of "level playing fields". Geological Surveys need to ensure that guidelines, protocols and standards are collaboratively developed so that expensively acquired data are compatible and can be integrated into global-scale studies. More than 80% of the world's population now lives in urban centres. Urban geochemistry, and thus data collection on a very local scale, is becoming increasingly important ands relevant to societal decision making. Data that support understanding of the processes controlling transport of substances (trace elements and compounds) between lithosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere, and their fate that ultimately link to human health, are urgently needed. Continental scale coverage is required and should be undertaken stepwise in large increments as multi-media, multi-element surveys. Close collaboration with soil scientists, biologi

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