A brief blog post about differences in professional geoscience in China versus the US:
I met today with the Northwest branch of the China Geological Survey. It was a good time and brought a couple things to mind.
China is hugely populous, and they can and do sprinkle the countryside with mappers every year at a fraction of the cost for the US to do the same. There was a time, maybe 30 years ago, when the same thing did happen in the US, with the US Geological Survey paving the way. It wasn't that salaried geoscientists busted the US budget, but for some reason, it is no longer a funding priority to know what in tarnations our motherland is composed of and so mapping is becoming somewhat of a lost art in the US.
Not so in China. And with a country that contains some of the most bizzare geology in the world- Tibet plateau, Loess plateau, giant rivers, low basins surrounded by mountains, feathered dinosaurs- there is no shortage of discoveries to be made. It is fun to see it happen, but really there's no way to infiltrate this process as a foreigner. I can come here and find small areas or even regional relationships to delve into, but nothing brings about an intimate knowlege of a place like mapping does.