Perhaps no body of knowledge helps society adapt and live in its surroundings more than geology and the earth sciences. Geology and earth sciences are the study of the earth, ranging from the earth to the top of the atmosphere.
The structure of the interior of the earth has a profound role on seismic events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Studying the earth’s interior helps us to understand the formation and occurrence of the minerals and metals that are used by humans for making everything from automobiles, houses and electronic equipment to aircraft and fertilizers.
Agriculture and food production depend on the type of soil and its fertility; the soil is derived from parent rock, and its properties are dependent on the rock.
Earth sciences also deal with our natural resources and extreme events — cyclones, hurricanes, flooding, droughts and tsunamis.
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Some of the minerals mined in South Carolina include kaolin (used for making paper), limestone (used in building and making cement), granite (used in construction), vermiculite (used in fire-proofing), clay, shale and gravel (all used in construction). Gold is also found in Lancaster County, and is in the process of being mined.
South Carolina also is home to a diversity of natural resources, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Upstate to the wetlands and beaches on the coast, the forests, and rivers and lakes that are home to exquisite flora and fauna.
On Thursday and Friday, Columbia will host the 65th annual southeastern section meeting of the Geological Society of America. Among the topics we will discuss are coastal geology, environmental education, fossils, earthquake hazards and gold exploration. Scientists from government, academia and industry, as well as students and teachers, will participate and present the latest research findings in these and many other topics from the studies in the southeastern United States.
A few hundred geologists and earth scientists from Columbia, South Carolina and the southeastern United States will descend on Columbia to rock your world.
General Chair, Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America Meeting
Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences, USC