Reflection of Geology

Reflection of Geology 1010

In this class we have explored anywhere from the center of the earth to see how rocks are formed, to the surface of the earth to learn how to read a map and find landmarks. We have studied the influence that man has on the earth and how naturally occurring events can change the landscape. The earth is constantly changing from within and without. I would like to focus on the study of earthquakes.

Earthquakes are a common occurrence caused mainly by plate tectonics. Even the “firm foundations” of bedrock are not as firm as once thought. The earth is made up of several layers but the main layers are the crust, the mantle, the outer core, and the inner core. The crust sits on the mantle, but even rock can melt and transform. This causes continental drift.

The theory widely accepted is that all of the earth was gathered in one body at some point. Rather than having 7 continents and thousands of islands, all the earth was one big continent. However, because of continental drift, the earth was split up. The theory of plate tectonics is that all of the crust sits on a shifting mantle. Since it is ever shifting fractures in the crust can form and can collide with one another. Plates can also drift apart. Any time plates collide or separate, there can either be an earthquake, volcano may form, or both.

Because of the large amount of forces acting on the earth to cause it to shift, the damage to the surface of the earth can be devastating. While no place is immune to earthquakes, there are a few things that can be done to minimize the effects of the earthquakes and a few precautions people can make if an earthquake strikes.

One of the major causes of deaths in an earthquake is man made structures falling on top of people and killing them. Others include gas lines that may break and power lines landing on them, causing fires. Tsunamis are also a big threat to those who live near the ocean. As we have had devastating earthquakes recently in Haiti, Japan, and Turkey, it is good to know what to do in case of an earthquake. Some of the things we discussed in order to avoid injury are to stay in a building if you are inside and to not enter a building if you are outside. Also, it is good to remember that just because the first wave is over, the earthquake is not over so to wait out all the phases of the earthquake in the safest place possible.

Geology is a valuable study for all of society. Because of what we know about earthquakes and what we are learning every day, we are able to make more earthquake resistant buildings and predict earthquakes in certain places (though we may not know when they will hit). Besides the knowledge that geology can give us about earthquakes, we can also find and mine precious metals and fossil fuels more efficiently and effectively. We can better understand why landslides happen. We can know what causes volcanos to erupt. We can find out where a good place to build structures and where to avoid building. We can find solutions for many other problems that face us today.