Abstract

Evolution of search procedure in the location of nonrenewable natural resources1 has led to the application of the philosophical principles underlying the geosciences, geology, geophysics and geochemistry; these approaches lead to tactical planning of search for prizes of commercial interest in areas selected for their potential promise, based on geoscience criteria.

It now appears that a global strategy may be constructed using mathematical modeling with overall profitability of the system as a measure of effectiveness.

The philosophy of this approach implies that an initial systematic grid-drilling procedure, leading to an inventory of the non-renewable natural resources of a large region, may be an optimal strategy. Successful application of this model would supply a new and more exacting basis for improvements in the philosophy of the geosciences and would, therefore, also lead to improvements in the tactical search procedure.

Introduction

Natural resources form the basic raw material for the development of a region or political unit; they may be subdivided into renewable natural resources comprising products based on animal and plant resources and nonrenewable resources which consist of metallic, nonmetallic and fuel resources. Some of the non-renewable materials have been worked since man appeared on earth and the location of these resources was, at least in the earliest days, a matter of chance observation. As in most human activities the search for natural resources developed into a search for "pattern" or "order" in their occurrence and there was an early pre-scientific period, equivalent to alchemy, in this evolutionary sequence; the doodlebug, the hunch and "chance" plays are contemporaneous equivalents which persist and still achieve some success.

The scientific period commenced with, and encouraged the growth of, geology; its roots lie in the work of Agricola (1494-1555) and Werner (1750-1817) and eventually, as the composition and structure of the earth's crust became familiar, new patterns of search related to the distribution of the non-renewable resources were designed and an attempt was made to explain the patterns by constructing theories of origin of earth materials. Throughout this period from 1500 to the early 1800's the amateur prospector was almost the sole explorer and in the 19th and early 20th centuries by DR. JOHN C. GRIFFITHS Head, Department of Geochemistry and Mineralogy, The Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A. 39-11 the prospector and burro is symbolic of the more successful procedures for finding local concentrations of non-renewable natural resources. Local structural patterns, for example the association of oil and anticlines, were the main geological guides during this period.

From 1925 geophysical techniques became effective in searching for the patterned structure associated with th

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