Seismic data has increased our knowledge of large-scale sediment movements and rheologists have now clarified the cohesive, plastic and fluid nature of aqueous slurries and of fine-grained particle systems generally. Colloid and surface chemists have defined the interactions between charged particles, ions, and solvent in these systems. During diagenesis, the formation of rocks by consolidation of sediments, it is a simple fact that all chemical reactions that occur in interparticle spaces or within the pores of semi-consolidated sediments must take place in the immediate vicinity of a surface. The presence of charged surfaces is the essential difference between what actually happens in nature and hydrothermal solution theories that are based on normal chemical reactions established for bulk solution such as those in open test tubes or in laboratory reaction vessels.
A wider theoretical basis is now available for interpreting geological phenomena. It has been found that this additional basis in colloid chemistry and rheology can now be applied to achieve more effective exploration and development of mineral resources. This remarkable result has been achieved by filling the technological gap in the theoretical base of the earth sciences.