The earth and planetary sciences have shown remarkable changes during the present century. The relative coverage of earth and earth-planetary science in the journalScience (from the USA) was studied quantitatively at 5-year intervals for the period 1900–1976. Similar data, but more widely spaced, (10-year intervals) were obtained from the journalNature (from Great Britain) as corroboration.It was found in both journals that the relative attention given to earth science and to the combination of earth and planetary sciences dropped through the century to a low point about 1955. Thereafter the trend reversed, with both of these elements rising almost twice as rapidly as they had previously fallen. A comparison with previous work on the production of American periodical literature showed similar trends but a consistently greater proportion of coverage of these subjects inScience than that in the literature, suggesting that the former is reflecting a wider spectrum of impact of these subjects than is the latter. General science journals may be a better indicator of impact of a science than is the specialized literature.The similarity of results in the two journals indicates that the idea of patterns in world science is a valid one, in which the USA and Great Britain belong to a common pattern.