Sunday, March 20, 2011

Importance Of Geology

Spring break was busier than I had anticipated.  My Calculus class is online, and while it starts a week later than on-campus classes, the drawback is that there is no spring break.  So I had a unit to work on over the past week for that class. I did get out on a couple good hikes, however I am still wading through the photos I took so the posts don't end up sounding like a jumble of rocks at the end of a rock slide, jagged and poorly sorted.

So why am I posting now you say?  Well, the other big school project that has dominated my spring break is a persuasive speech I have to give for my speech class Thursday. Almost a month ago, I had already decided to show people the importance of studying Geology and how it effects everyday lives.  I had a lot of vague categories in mind to talk about and had started jotting down notes for it when the earthquake hit Japan over a week ago.  So here is the introduction to my modified speech.

    1. Before Japan was devistated last week by a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, I was trying to narrow down all the reasons why I believe the study of Geology is important to humanity.
    2. We utalize it intuitivly when we head to the outdoors for recreation. What conditions are out there? Should I bring something with 4x4 capabilities? Should I climb to higher ground from a canyon if it starts raining? Even winter sports like Skiing and Snowboarding which are a large part of Colorado's economy would not be possible here if the Mountains hadn't begun to lift out of the seaway that covered Colorado for much of it's Geologic Past.
    3. Speaking of economic impacts, where would Colorado be without it's natural resources. Colorado has been among the top producers of gold/silver/uranium and various other minerals in the United States throughout it's history. Construction materials such as gypsum and aggregate to salt for food to clay for pottery can all be found lurking somewhere in Colorado. Yule Marble, which is Colorado's state rock, was used in the construction of the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the unknown soldier. The largest resource industry that impacts Colorado can be seen even a few miles from where we stand. Colorado's oil production over time ranks eleventh in the nation and natural gas ranks fifth.
    4. All of these factors are great reasons why Geology is important, but after last week, one of the strongest factors emerged. The greatest impacts on our lives comes from the force of which our Earth is capable. In one moment, lives, economies and entire nations can be changed. Our key to minimizing this devistation, lies in the science of Geology.
 So there you go.  The rest of the speech should be fully written in a few days.  There is no way to prevent events such as the Sendai or the Haitian earthquake that hit last year, so the speech focuses on the ways that Geology can help lessen the impacts of such disasters.  There is a lot of information coming out of the Earthquakes, so if you are looking for some good links about the geology of the earthquake in Japan (and because I am nowhere near qualified yet to make these observations on my own.) here is a list of some of the best posts I have found out there.

The Tsunami's Ripple Effect
Several posts on the earthquake, though some a little detailed
Secondary Effects of Earthquakes
Movement of GPS ground units after the Earthquake
This blog has posts covering just about everything you might want to know.

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