Open Terminology

Open-Terminology was a major initiative of the IUGS-TecTask commission as one of its fundamental objectives. This initiative is now run by the IASGT.

The need for scientific standards and measures as well as a homogeneous professional terminology are key essentials in every natural science discipline and was highlighted by the IUGS review committee and in several international publications. During the past years, a team of TecTask and IASGT officers gathered a large number of terms in structural geology and tectonics and their definitions. The terminology and standards are hosted in a Mediawiki internet platform:

The basic concept is to have a platform populated with terms and their definition, which can be publicly discussed by the enrolled members before those are elevated into formal glossaries or a dictionary published regularly (e.g., every 5 years).

Similar examples are found in international publications and textbooks such as Microtectonics by Passschier & Trouw (2005), Salt Tectonics by Jackson and Hudek (2016) or in the online course Microtectonics by Jessell & Bons (2008), among many other textbooks and review articles. Some of these authors have given permission to copy their glossaries to populate the platform. With the gradual increase of entries, it is anticipated that the Structural Geology & Tectonics community will recognize and share the forum and actively participate in the formulation of the terms and definitions.

David Peacock, Lorenzo Gemignani and Rodolfo Carosi developed the contents of this page. A few hundreds of terms have been reviewed with references to international papers and books. Haakon Fossen and Tamara de Riese are also involved in the management of this initiative, together with the existing leaders.

An innovative aspect of the OpenTerminology initiative is the hierarchy of the terms. The glossary is made under the assumption that terms have a specific hierarchy. They are part of a cluster of definitions such as that for example “rock” is the cluster of definitions for “minerals” which is the cluster of the definition of “atom”. The open-source and open-access nature of Open-Terminology aims to provide a tool to promote the dynamic changes in geologic terminology over time.