The term 'big data analytics' emerged in order to engage in the ever increasing amount of scientific and engineering data with general analytics techniques that support the often more domain-specific data analysis process. It is recognized that the big data challenge can only be adequately addressed when knowledge of various different fields such as data mining, machine learning algorithms, parallel processing, and data management practices are effectively combined. This paper thus describes some of the 'smart data analytics methods' that enable a high productivity data processing of large quantities of scientific data in order to enhance the data analysis efficiency. The paper thus aims to provide new insights how various fields can be successfully combined. Contributions of this paper include the concretization of the cross-industry standard process for data mining (CRISP-DM) process model in scientific environments using concrete machine learning algorithms (e.g. support vector machines that enable data classification) or data mining mechanisms (e.g. outlier detection in measurements). Serial and parallel approaches to specific data analysis challenges are discussed in the context of concrete earth science application data sets. Solutions also include various data visualizations that enable a better insight in the corresponding data analytics and analysis process.