Contributions to Science, 5-1

Geology as a "local" science

Salvador Reguant i Serra


Understanding and describing Earth’s history is one
of geology’s goals. Stratigraphy, the field of geology comprising
our knowledge of the history of Earth and the life on the
planet, has always searched for the places that best reveal the
passing of historical time, such as it can be “read” by analyzing
the rock record. In geology, such places establish a compulsory
reference, as almost always reflected in the nomenclature
employed. Most of the stratigraphic successions employed to
define the units were described in the 19th century (the oldest
ones cited here are from 1832). More detailed analyses of the
chronostratigraphic scale have led to the establishment of the
Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), with
the first definition dating from 1982. Geology is possibly the
only science that must take into account the place where the
knowledge was obtained and the place where it was further
elucidated—as both have implications for any revision of the
Earth’s history. Thus, Geology can truly be defined as a “local”

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ISSN: 2013-410X (electronic edition); 1575-6343 (print edition)