This post was editted by Glenn Richard on Feb, 2010
Predictability is a fundamental issue concerning the Earth, the universe, and phenomena in general.
What are we currently able to predict about the future, and what can we expect to learn to predict at a later time, as our understanding advances?
What aspects of phenomena make them predictable, or impractical to predict?
The topic of predictability carries with it fundamental issues such as probability, chaos, the nature of models, and questions about what we can say about the time and place of future events.
Concerning the deep Earth, some issues are what we can predict about future changes in the magnetic field, the future configuration of plate boundaries, and seismic events caused by plate motions.
Kindred issues can be raised about the past. How much and what detail can we recover about past events, and what information is lost forever? Concerning the deep Earth, we can ask about the history of the differentiation of materials, the signature of the history of magnetic field, evidence of changes in plate boundaries, and many more questions.
... and while we are on the topic of what information about the Earth is accessible and what is not, we can consider what we can and cannot learn about phenomena or places that we can only study from a distance, such as the deep Earth. What are the surface manifestations of deep Earth processes? What experiments can we perform that can yield information about the deep Earth, in lieu of our going there?
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