The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 20th

Letter: We need to invest in geological sciences


Recent catastrophic events around the world tragically illustrate how quickly the ground beneath our feet can change forever. 

Catastrophic earthquakes in Mexico, massive flooding in Texas, Category 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean and southeastern United States, killer landslides, volcanic eruptions, the list goes on. 

Geoscience research and the focused investigation of our planet have never been more critical for society. We provide the research and analysis that describes the past and present interactions of the solid Earth, Ocean and Atmosphere.  

The fundamental parameters used for urban development, building codes and sustainability rest on a foundation of geological knowledge of the Earth. 

This includes how the Earth has evolved over the last 4.5 billion years, where are we heading into the future and what happens when a sudden release of energy causes havoc in regions ill-prepared to deal with large-scale destruction. 

Over time scales from millions of years to micro-seconds, we observe and investigate climate and tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes, rivers and coastal dynamics — all relevant to the citizens across the world.  

The on-going crises represent alarming signals: we must accelerate our efforts to understand our changing environment.  

Let’s invest in the geological sciences to meet these challenges for resilience and sustainability.

Professor Jonathan Lees


Geological Sciences

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