GeoHazards & GeoEvents: An Overview
Mass Movement (landslides, rock fall, etc.,).
Water Contamination (heavy metals, nitrates, hydrocarbons, etc.,).
All of these natural events/hazards, have intrinsic relations to the Geology (surface & subsurface) of a defined Geography (location/area). What determine whether or not these natural events are non-hazardous/hazardous/disastrous, to lives, livelihoods & property, is, among other things, dependent on:
- The relative distance of a specified human population, or property of value, or asset of value, to the area of the geoevent.
- The capacity of the population, or state + population, to mitigate & respond to (suppress), the potential & actual output/effect, of the geo-event to the defined location, or population.
So, with this being said, if a landslide is to take place at a location far from a population-houses, farms, important public infrastructure, and water source (dam), is the landslide a geohazard or a geoevent?
Geology or Geoscience: An Overview
“The word geology means ‘Study of the Earth’.
Also known as geoscience or earth science, Geology is the primary Earth science and looks at how the earth formed, its structure and composition, and the types of processes acting on it…by studying the structure of the earth, we can unlock its hidden past & anticipate its future”What Is Geology| Geological Survey Ireland| Retrieved October 15, 2023
Among other theories & actualities, the land you and I live on today & the material used to make our home/commercial space-walls, countertops, etc.), originate beneath the land surface. The 2 chief source areas of the rock we live on/construction material of the house we live in/conduct commercial activity in are:
- Seafloor/Oceanfloor (Limestone or Carbonates; Sandstone & Mudstone).
- Earth Core/ Earth Mantle (Igneous & Metamorphic), such as granite, marble, and slate counter tops, tile floor; Earth Minerals/Metals: such as Iron.
Over the course of millions-billions of years, through volcanic eruptions, climate & climate shift, weathering & erosion, mass movements, sediment transport & deposition, and orogeny (hills & mountain- building); the earth has become what it was, and is for life-a home. These geoevents (including atmospheric-dominant such as climate change, hurricanes, typhoons & monsoons), have been taking place on the land we live on, before our time, and Long after we’re gone.
Having a basic understanding of these geoprocesses will go a far way towards helping us live in better balance with our geo-environment.
Human Population Growth & Potential Growth In Geohazards Scale & Frequency
“The global human population reached 8.0 billion in mid-November 2022 from an estimated 2.5 billion people in 1950, adding 1 billion people since 2010 and 2 billion since 1998.
The world’s population is expected to increase by nearly 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from the current 8 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 10.4 billion in the mid-2080s.” UN.org|Population| Retrieved October 15, 2023
With this current & projected global population increase, the expectation is an increase in:
- Population(s) density in defined areas, and thus an increase in the potential/actual scale of geoevent being hazardous, and/or disastrous, to that defined population-lives, livelihoods & assets/property.
- Population migration (residential, commercial), to areas susceptible to geovents of great scale & frequency. Such as migration to land susceptible to landslippage & flooding–slopes averaging 5 degress & sun-facing– (dominantly applicable in tropical, desert & temperate zones); floodplains/riverbanks; banks of stratovolcanoes-active, dormant, extinct.
Geology, Geohazards & Geodisasters: Tips For You-Life & Livelihoods Saving
The State & its Agencies, Researchers (multidisciplinary), Non-Government Organizations, Community Based Organizations, Household, and You (the individual); all most work together (sustainably) towards co-existing with the geology, and its processes, with minimal negative effect/outcome to life, livelihood, property/assets, as well as the wider ecosystem, who also depend on the defined geology.
On your part, before investing in the construction of your property; and/or conducting waste disposal practices (human waste, waste water, liquid fertilizer, motor vehicle oil); and/or engaging in commercial actvity, among other things, be familiar with:
- The surface/subsurface geology map(s) specific for your area of interest; including, bu not limited to: sinkhole locations, landslide susceptibility, active earthquake zone/paleoearthquake zones). These can generally be provided by Geo-focused Government Agencies; Researchers; and Geo-Consultants.
- Topography maps highlighting contours/elevation/landforms-cliffs, gullies, hills, plateus & drainage-streams, springs, rivers.
- Hydrology/Hydrogeology Maps highlighting areas of surface water, underground surface water, seasonal water availability in location & volume (buffer maps, multimap overlay using GIS).
- Geotechnics (engineering-relevance of earth material), of the focus area.
Your execution/consulting with Geo-Bio professionals & entities, with expertise & regulation in the areas mentioned, and non-mentioned, is a vital step, and/or continuos component, towards mitigating the disastrous effects of geoevents, and geo-bio events (pathogens & their associated diseases, such as cholera), towards your: life, livelihood(s), and asset(s)/property; spatially & over the long term.
About The Author
Oshane Bryant: BSc Geology, Geography Minor; ACE CPT since 2012; Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Accelerator Graduate-2018 cohort; Licensed KUKIBO Martial Arts & Self Defense, Senior Instructor; OB Fitness Founder & Managing Director.