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I am writing a sci-fi novel in which humanity has struggled to survive in colonies throughout the solar system after the Earth becomes uninhabitable. I am writing a passage about a main character's back story and want to make their parent a geologist. The issue is that I feel like there would be a difference to distinguish geologists who study the Earth and those that study the other planets. It seems pretty normal now that adding 'xeno' to anything in space makes it about space (i.e. xenobiologists study the biology of alien life, and xenogeologists would study the geology of other planets). Similarly, I have seen the usage of 'neo' for anything new.

I am wanting to use a prefix to distinguish Earth based geology from geology work done on other planets and am wondering if there is a prefix used that indicates something is old.

Clarification: My purpose is to distinguish geology of earth from geology of other planets. My thought was that using a prefix for 'old' might make sense, essentially meaning 'old earth study'. If there might be better alternative, I am open to suggestions.

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    Where does the 'old' bit come in? A sample sentence in the question would help. – Lawrence Jun 13 at 15:22
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    The opposite of 'neo` would be 'archaeo' - is that what you're looking for? – Toby Speight Jun 13 at 15:26
  • There is a problem with your question. You see, unfortunately, The Greek word word for Earth is ‘gē’ (Γη)! So etymologically, a ‘geologist’ studies the (physical) Earth. ‘Xeno’ is from the Greek word ‘xenos’ (ξένος), meaning a stranger or foreigner. So a xenogeologist is a geologist of ‘foreign’ planets and other bodies. So if you wanted to have a special word for geologists of Earth, it would be ‘oekogeologist’ (geologists of the home planet. But in your story Earth is no longer home. ‘Paleo’ might do, as in ‘palaeontologist’. ‘exo’ (έξω) might do. Exogeologists (continued)... – Tuffy Jun 13 at 15:58
  • Exogeologists would study the geology of planets and bodies not inhabited by humans or other life, while the planets (and moons) which are inhabited could be studied by ‘endogeologists’. (Endo - ενδω = inside) study the planets ‘inside’ the worlds of humans. – Tuffy Jun 13 at 16:03
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    Your question is confusing. You talk about wanting to differentiate Earth based geology from other planet geology. But then you ask for a prefix for 'old'. So which is it? Those are two very different things, other planets and oldness. Can you rewrite/edit your question to make sense of this? – Mitch Jun 13 at 17:10
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Paleo

From Greek πάλαι (pálai, “long ago”)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic#Etymology_of_paleolithic

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"Archaeo" also is used. It's used in my branch of science as a prefix meaning "ancient, olden, primitive, primeval, from the beginning." The root is a Latinized form of the Greek arkhaios: "ancient, primeval." It's also the root of the English word "archaic."

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From comments by Tuffy (1,2):

The Greek word word for Earth is ‘gē’ (Γη)! So etymologically, a ‘geologist’ studies the (physical) Earth. ‘Xeno’ is from the Greek word ‘xenos’ (ξένος), meaning a stranger or foreigner. So a xenogeologist is a geologist of ‘foreign’ planets and other bodies. So if you wanted to have a special word for geologists of Earth, it would be ‘oekogeologist’ (geologists of the home planet.

But in your story Earth is no longer home. ‘Paleo’ might do, as in ‘palaeontologist’. ‘exo’ (έξω) might do. Exogeologists would study the geology of planets and bodies not inhabited by humans or other life, while the planets (and moons) which are inhabited could be studied by ‘endogeologists’. (Endo - ενδω = inside) study the planets ‘inside’ the worlds of humans.

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Tellurian is another word for something or someone from Earth.

It derives from Latin word for earth. tellus and tellur

So tellurology would be the study of Earth tellusophy would be the study of the science of Earth, maybe tellurtectonics. the study of Earths plate tectonics. biotellurology the study of Earth biology

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