POSTED: Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:48pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:49pm
Is Geology really an important Science
Tsunami, earthquakes and volcanoes, Oh My!
As I continue to learn about the fascinating world of Meteorology, I am discovering many different fun facts.
Did you know: tsunami, earthquakes and volcanoes aren't classified as meteorology? They are actually Geological Hazards! Therefore Geologists concentrate on these natural hazards.
Speaking of Geology, I love watching the Big Bang Theory, and in last night's episode, Sheldon called Geology the Kardashians of science.
I thought this was completely hilarious! Although I don't understand where this whole bashing on geologists and meteorologists comes from.
But in all seriousness, as a Meteorologist-to-be, I actually think Geologists are very important to natural disasters such earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanoes.
And it is something that we should be concerned about since we live on a Transform Fault Line known as the San Andreas Fault.
Although we haven't experienced a strong earthquake in a really long time, we shouldn't disregard the fact that earthquakes could pose a strong threat to our region.
But that is besides the point.
Geology is a concept that affects everyone around the world.
Did you know that Tsunami comes from Earthquakes?
And did you know that the word "tsunamis" doesn't exist?
Tsunami is already plural!
Tsunami is often confused with a tidal wave, but in all reality, waves have nothing to do with a tsunami.
A tidal wave is produced by the daily tides, which are caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun.
A tsunami, on the other hand, occurs when some event disturbs the ocean.
For example, an earthquake, can displace the ocean floor, perhaps triggering an underwater landslide.
The water above such an event rises or falls, creating a surface wave that can travel at hundreds of miles an hour.
In fact, the deadliest tsunami took place back in Dec. 26, 2004.
As some may recall, a magnitude 9 earthquake hit near Sumatra and produced the largest trans-oceanic tsunami in over 40 years!
This tragic event took the lives of thousands, more deaths than any tsunami ever recorded in history.
Keep in mind that a tsunami wave isn’t necessarily very tall in the open ocean.
All it takes are a few inches to a few feet different from the level of the ocean around it, to cause major damage.
The waves aren't always tall, as seen in Hollywood, but it can be very long, so when it approaches land, the water piles up, and can devastate an entire city,
And that is exactly what happened in the devastating event of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean.
But that's not all geologists focus on.
Volcanoes are also another category that can be interesting to study but immensely tragic if it erupts.
One of the deadliest Volcanoes is on Mount St. Helens.
Back in May of 1980, Magma began intruding into the Mount St. Helens of the main portion of a volcano.
It wasn't until a magnitude-5+ earthquake was accompanied by a debris avalanche, which in turn unloaded the confining pressure at the top of the volcano.
Once this happened, everything went downhill after that. (no pun intended)
This abrupt pressure release allowed hot water in the system to flash to steam, which expanded explosively, initiating a hydrothermal blast directed laterally through the landslide scar.
Magma began to rise, form bubbles, and erupt explosively, driving a 9-hour long Plinian eruption.
And a Plinian Eruption is a pretty intense explosion.
In fact, this is a large explosive event that forms enormous dark columns of rock fragment that is forcibly ejected from the volcano and gas high into the stratosphere.
This event was the most deadly and economically destructive volcanic eruption in the history of the United States.
Fifty-seven people were killed and 200 houses, 27 bridges, 15 miles of railways and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. At that time, President Jimmy Carter surveyed the damage and said it looked more desolate than a moonscape.
Geologists try to help us understand when the next earthquake will strike and what kind of Geological Hazard will strike.
Although we can't foretell all of Mother Nature's nasty tricks, we definitely can try and understand them a little better.
After this read, do you still think that Geology is the Kardashian's of science?