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USGS CMG InfoBank: Importance of Geologic Structures

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Comment: 25:22 - 26:51 (01:29)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 8. Earth's Structures
Keywords: geology, "James Sadd", "John McPhee", "Mount Everest", "marine limestone", structure, fold, fault, plate, "geologic hazard", resource, "structural geology"

Our transcription: Author John McPhee once tried to reduce the study of geology to a single sentence.
He wrote "The summit of Mount Everest is marine limestone."
This statement summarizes centuries of human fascination about geologic structures, including mountain ranges, folded and contorted rocks, and great faults.
These structures are both the product of tectonic plate movement and a record of Earth's dynamic history.
An understanding of geologic structures is not only essential to interpreting Earth's past, it's often the solution to practical problems as well.
For example, faults are the record of ancient earthquakes, and the study of these structures is fundamental to earthquake hazard analysis and quake prediction.
The tectonic activity that creates mountain ranges is also responsible for the formation of oil and gas fields, so an understanding of geologic structures is essential to the search for these fuels.
In addition, structural geology is vital to landslide analysis and in planning disposal sites for the waste products of human civilization from spent nuclear fuel to household garbage.
The study of geologic structures is one important way that the Science of Geology links academic knowledge to the practical concerns of people and civilizations.
The structure of the Earth beneath our feet is vital, both to interpreting Earth's past and to planning our own future.

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