Header for this AEG-Texas webinar on Geoethics

Some Geoethics Fundamentals and Resources

Presentation Description

Making ethical decisions in a professional context requires us to understand some fundamentals of geoethics that we can derive from community resources available through AEG and other professional organizations (e.g., ASBOG, AGI, AGU, AIPG, and IAPG). This webinar aims to provide an overview of some geoethics basics, and links to associated geoethics resources.

This talk will focus on the ethical foundations of applied geoscience. There is no reason for engineering geology to exist as a profession if we do not provide society with useful and reliable information about the Earth. The ethical practice of engineering geology requires a firm commitment to the responsible conduct of geoscience in the public interest. Vince will present three of the "primacy principles" that are foundational to the practice of engineering geology, related to protecting the public interest (health, safety, well-being), the conduct of science as a truth-seeking process, and environmental stewardship.

Definitions of GeoEthics

Dave Mogk provided the following definition (

"GeoEthics encompasses the values and professional standards required of geoscientists to responsibly work in the profession and in service to society. The training of scientists in ethics has traditionally been focused on the Responsible Conduct of Research. However, GeoEthics encompasses many more dimensions, including personal and professional behaviors as well as responsibilities to society and to stewardship of Earth."

The International Association for Promoting Geoethics offers many viewpoints about the nature of geoethics, starting with their definition at


"Ethical conduct in the geoscience professions has many dimensions, including responsibilities toward the Profession, to Society, and to the Earth System." (Dave Mogk,

Multiple Facets of GeoEthics

Structuring thought about geoethics for AEG members in Texas

Some Other Geoethics Resources

Invited contribution by Vince Cronin to the IAPG Short Course on Geoethics, presented at the 2021 European Geoscience Union Meeting in Vienna ( ).

IAPG School on Geoethics and Natural Issues, resources available via

References and Selected Bibliography

Andrews, G.C., 2014, Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience — Practice and Ethics. [5th Edition]: Toronto, Nelson Education, 472 p.

Bobrowsky, P.T., Cronin, V.S., Di Capua, G., Kieffer, S.W., Peppoloni, S., 2017, The emerging field of geoethics, in Gunderson, L.C., [editor], Scientific integrity and ethics in the geosciences: American Geophysical Union, chapter 11, p. 175-212, Published Online: 20 October 2017, DOI: 10.1002/9781119067825.ch11

Bohle, M., 2019, Exploring Geoethics -- Ethical Implications, Societal Contexts, and Professional Obligations of the Geosciences: Palgrave Pivot, Cham, XIV + 214, ISBN 978-3-030-12009-2

Chan, M.A., and Mogk, D.W., 2023, Establishing an Ethic of Sampling for Future Generations of Geoscientists: GSA Today, v. 33, p. 16-18,

Cronin, V.S., 2021a, Geoethics as a common thread that can bind a geoscience department together, in Di Capua, G., [editor], Geoethics — Status and Future Perspectives: Geological Society of London Special Publication SP508, p. 55-65.

Cronin, V.S., 2021b, Geoethics in natural hazards from the perspective of an engineering geologist ( ), in Short Course on Geoethics, presented at the 2021 European Geoscience Union Meeting and available online at

Cronin, V.S., 2017, Facilitating a geoscience student's ethical development, in Gunderson, L.C., [editor], Scientific integrity and ethics in the geosciences: American Geophysical Union, chapter 14, p. 267-291, Published Online: 20 October 2017, DOI: 10.1002/9781119067825.ch14

Cronin, V.S., 1993, A perspective on professional ethics in engineering geosciences, in Hoose, S., [editor], Proceedings of Symposium on Ethical Considerations in the Environmental Practice of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology: Association of Engineering Geologists National Meeting, San Antonio, p. 21-28.

Cronin V.S., 1992, On the seismic activity of the Malibu Coast Fault Zone, and other ethical problems in engineering geoscience [abs]: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 24, no. 7, p. A284, accessible via[abs]1992.pdf.

Cronin, V.S., Slosson, J.E., and Slosson, T.L., 1991, Method of multiple working hypotheses: A chimera or a necessity for ethical practice in engineering geosciences: Proceedings, Association of Engineering Geologists National Meeting, p. 137-143.

Cronin, V.S., Slosson, J.E., Slosson, T.L., and Shuirman, G., 1990, Deadly debris flows on I-5 near Grapevine, CA, in French, R.H., [editor], Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Hydraulics/Hydrology of Arid Lands (H2AL): New York, American Society of Civil Engineers, p. 78-83,

Cronin, V.S., and Sverdrup, K.A., 1998, Preliminary assessment of the seismicity of the Malibu Coast Fault Zone, southern California, and related issues of phlosophy and practice, in Welby, C.W., and Gowan, M.E., [editors], A Paradox of Power: Voices of Warning and Reason in the Geosciences: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Reviews in Engineering Geology, v. XII, P. 123-155, accessible via

Di Capua, G., Bobrowsky, P.T., Kieffer, S.W., and Palinkas, C., [Editors], 2021, Geoethics: Status and Future Perspectives: London, Geological Society, Special Publication 508, 311 p.

Di Capua G., Peppoloni S. and Bobrowsky P.T., 2017, The Cape Town Statement on Geoethics. Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 60, Fast Track 7, doi: 10.4401/ag-7553, accesssible via

Gunderson, L.C., [editor], 2018, Scientific integrity and ethics in the geosciences: Washington, D.C., American Geophysical Union, 327 p.,

Hoose, S., [Editor], 1993, Professional Practice Handbook: Association of Engineering Geologists, Special Publication 5, 191 p.

Johnson, P.A., Widnall, S.E., and Benya, F.F., [Editors], 2018, Sexual Harassment of Women — Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 292 p.

Lollino, G., Arattano, M., Giardino, M., Oliveira, R., and Peppoloni, S., [Editors], 2014, Engineering Geology for Society and Territory — Volume 7 — Education, Professional Ethics, and Public Recognition of Engineering Geology: Cham, Switzerland, Springer International Publishing, 274 p.

Mogk D., 2017, Geoethics and Professionalism: The Responsible Conduct of Scientists, in Peppoloni S., Di Capua G., Bobrowsky P.T., Cronin V.S. (Eds.), Geoethics at the heart of all geoscience: Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 60, Fast Track 7,, available via

Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G., 2022, Geoethics — Manifesto for an ethics of responsibility towards the Earth: Springer, Cham, XII+123 pp., ISBN 978-3030980436.

Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G., 2021, Current Definition and Vision of Geoethics, in Bohle M. and Marone E. (eds), Geo-societal Narratives - Contextualising Geosciences: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 17-28,, available via

Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G., 2021, Geoethics to start up a pedagogical and political path towards future sustainable societies: Sustainability, 13(18), 10024,, accessible via

Peppoloni, S., and Di Caua, G., [Editors], 2015, Geoethics — The Role and Resonsibility of Geoscientists: London, Geological Society, Special Publication 419, 187 p.

Shlemon, R.J., Wright, R.H., and Montgomery, D.R., 1987, Anatomy of a debris flow, Pacifica, California, in Costa, J.E., and Wieczorek, G.F., editors, Debris Flows/Avalanches: Process, Recognition, and Mitigation: Geological Society of America Reviews in Engineering Geology, p. 181-200, download from ResearchGate .

Shuirman, G., and Slosson, J.E., 1992, Forensic Engineering -- Environmental Case Histories for Civil Engineers and Geologists: Academic Press, 296 p., ISBN 0-12-640740-1, especially the following chapter:

• Chapter 3. Malibu landslide -- Massive litigation. Concerns the Big Rock Mesa landslide in Malibu, California.

Slosson, J.E., Williams, J.W., and Cronin, V.S., 1991, Current and future difficulties in the practice of engineering geology: Engineering Geology, v. 30, p. 3-12.

Tepel, R.E., 1995, Professional Licensure for Geologists -- An Exploration of Issues: Special Publication 7, Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, accessed August 2, 2023 via

World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, Our common future: Oslo, Norway: United Nations General Assembly, Development and International Cooperation: Environment, accessible via

Wyss, M., and Peppoloni, S., 2014, Geoethics, Ethical Challenges and Case Studies in Earth Sciences: Elsevier, 450 p., ISBN 978-0127999357

About The Speaker

Vince Cronin is a member of the Texas Chapter of AEG. and is the Richard H. Jahns Lecturer for 2022-23. He worked for the first Jahns Lecturer, Dr. Jim Slosson, as an engineering geologist and consultant on projects involving landslides, active faulting, flooding, coastal/stream erosion, and resource evaluation in the western US. Vince was chosen by AIPG as the recipient of the Ben H. Parker Memorial Distinguished Service Medal for 2023.

Vince has contributed to the development of geoethics during the past 3 decades. He serves on the executive board of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics ( IAPG ) as its North American coordinator. He is a member of the task force charged with developing geoethical guidelines for the International Union of Geological Sciences ( IUGS ). He is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Geoethics and Social Geosciences .

Vince is an emeritus professor of geoscience at Baylor University. There and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he taught a variety of graduate courses about structural geology, tectonics, and engineering geology, and the core undergraduate courses in physical geology and structural geology. He is the editor of the 11th through 13th editions of the AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology (Pearson).

If you have any questions or comments about this site or its contents, drop an email to Vince Cronin

Revised August 9, 2023 .