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Geosciences 2013, 3(3), 446-447; doi:10.3390/geosciences3030446

Extending the Avenues for Geosciences Research
Carlos Alves
Centre of Geological Research, Management and Valorisation of Resources (CIG-R, PEst-OE/CTE/UI0697/2011 of the Portuguese Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia), School of Sciences, Campus de Gualtar, University of Minho, Braga 4710-057, Portugal; Tel.: +351-253-604-300; Fax: +351-253-604-039
Received: 5 July 2013 / Accepted: 5 July 2013 / Published: 9 July 2013

The special issue “Geoscience of the Built Environment” [1] has received diverse contributions that can be considered to be on something like the outer limits of geosciences, extending their methods and studies to what can be designated the extended anthroposphere, considering not only the human modified environment, but also the natural space that man enjoys and assumes the burden to manage. Perhaps because of the orientation of the work of the editor, most of the contributions concerned building materials in diverse perspectives: the characterization of building materials used either directly as built elements [2,3] or as elements of the preparation of manufactured building materials [4]; the implications of geologic materials to the performance of buildings—namely, regarding thermal stability [5], and the alteration [6] and preservation [7] of existing applications of natural stone. These papers reflect diverse epistemological concerns both at the level of basic conceptual research—namely, taxonomy; and applied research—durability of materials used in built works and the impacts of these natural materials on the comfort of built elements.

Mapping is one of the founding procedures of the modern geosciences (one can remember the paramount importance it had for the pioneering works of Hutton and, in a converse sense, the words of Lyell in relation to the lack of extensive field work by Werner (see Chapter IV of Volume I of Principles of Geology at [8], namely page 57, in relation to the “the porphyry”). In this special issue, one can found examples of application of the principles concerning the management of space distributed information in different perspectives, such as assessing the pollution patterns related to anthropogenic and geogenic sources [9], the susceptibility of the built environment to hazardous geophenomena such as earthquakes and flooding [10], and anthropogenic administration of the natural space concerning humankind’s fruition and responsibilities [11].

These papers show the geosciences as a vibrant branch of research linked not only to the great questions of the Earth and the Universe, but also to our immediate domestic surroundings (our tabletops, walls, leisure spaces) and to the spaces where the urban dwellers can contact nature and are engaged in its preservation and management.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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