We investigated the publication trends in the international earth science literature coming out of Turkey in the period of 1970-2005 using the Science Citation Index Expanded database. A database of 23 10 earth science publications with at least one of the authors with an address in Turkey was compiled. The number of earth science publications from Turkey shows a very rapid increase starting in the 1990's in parallel with the increase in the total scientific output of Turkey. In the last decade the annual growth rate has been 16%. There was also a concomitant increase in the number of citations. The causes of the sharp increase in the publication numbers are, in order of importance, changes in the rules of academic promotion and appointment, changes in academic attitudes towards publishing, increasing support for research, financial incentives for publishing, and expansion of higher education. However, the sharp increase in the publication numbers was not accompanied by a similar increase in the impact of the publications as measured by the citations. Although publications with first authors from outside Turkey make up only 20% of the Turkish earth science publications in the period 1970-2005, these account for 38% of the total citations, and constitute 48 out of 100 most cited papers.