Voices: Austerity axes geological survey in Greece

by Floyd McCoy
Friday, January 20, 2012

We have all heard about the austerity measures being taken in Greece regarding its economy. This economic situation is about to affect many of us outside of Greece, however: One aspect of the austerity measures is the immediate closure of the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME). This is a travesty. I am hopeful that by raising awareness outside of Greece, we might be able to save this great body.

Among all who have worked in Greece, IGME is well known for its helpful maps, laboratories, great staff and scientists, and a willingness to provide permits for research. Over the past 59 years, IGME geologists have mapped the complex terrain that is Greece — that work is invaluable if you’ve ever attempted to understand the rocks and tectonics of this area of the world. The organization has expanded into every aspect of the geosciences, and is the protectorate of natural resources for the country. In every respect it is the equivalent to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Strong letters of support for IGME have come from the European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage, and from EuroGeoSurveys, the Geological Surveys of Europe. More letters are urgently needed, particularly from those of us who have depended upon IGME for our research — the global community needs to be heard from.

Closure of IGME could come in only a few weeks' time. Let’s do everything we can to save the organization.

Letters should be addressed to:
Mr. George Papaconstantinou
Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
17 Amaliados Str.
11523 Athens, Greece

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