An important and practical application of geology is identifying hazardous natural phenomena and isolating their causes in order to safeguard communities. According to the USGS, the average economic toll from natural hazards in the United States is approximately $52 billion per year, while the average annual death toll is approximately 200. The primary causes are earthquakes, landslides, and flooding, but other events, such as subsidence, volcanic eruptions, and exposure to radon or asbestos, also pose considerable danger. Awareness of the potential hazards that persist in areas under consideration for both private and community development is critical, and so geological consultants and engineers are called in to survey land development sites and assist building contractors in designing structures that will stand the test of time.
- Fact Sheet