Communicating with public audiences about the geological subsurface: thinking inside the box.

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Hazel Gibson, Iain Stewart


Community concerns over resource extraction and public anxieties about insertion of waters and waste are creating a growing societal unease about geological exploitation of the subsurface. Addressing these emergent areas of socially contested subsurface geoscience is difficult for many academic and industrial geologists, not least because translating unfamiliar concepts of the geological subsurface between stakeholders presents a challenge. This paper proposes a novel approach to engaging publics with geological issues: the GeoCube. Combining 3D Participatory Mapping with the Mental Models approach, the GeoCube allows participants to explore complex geological ideas. The GeoCube method, developed for a UK study in a Cornish mining village, revealed the ways that experts and non-experts conceptually penetrate the landscape surface to the invisible geological subsurface, highlighting the lack of similarity these two groups demonstrate, allowing communicators to better understand how to bridge the gap.



Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Social and Behavioral Sciences


public perception, subsurface, Science Communication, Cornwall, GeoCube, geological subsurface, geoscience communication, Historical mining, public engagement


Published: 2019-08-21 14:22


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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