How Geology Affects Your Everyday Life

Unless you are a professional geologist or engineer, it’s unlikely that you give much thought to the science of geology and how it affects your day-to-day activities. However, the study of the Earth’s composition, processes, and mineral makeup is integral to many of the daily activities, products and tools that we take for granted.
Let’s take a look at the role geology plays in our everyday lives.



Many different types of energy are impacted by Geology.  Fossil fuels have been created over the course of hundreds and thousands or even millions of years as the product of geological forces. Decomposing organic matter trapped beneath sediment and rock is transformed into carbon-rich oil and gas over many millennia.
We then use this fuel to heat our homes, power our vehicles, and much more. The conveniences and amenities of modern life would be impossible without fossil fuels, and without geologists to help discover and extract these sources of energy.
Geologists also play an important role in the advancement of alternative energies by studying and searching for minerals to be used in batteries and solar panels, finding and harnessing geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric power, and more.

Food and Drink

Everything you consume originates from the soil. Even meat products derived from animals such as cows, pigs, chicken and fish have to be fed from plants and other organisms that are in turn fed by minerals that come from the Earth.
Therefore, the geological studies of soil erosion and soil health, plus identifying, predicting and accessing sources of water for irrigation are all integral to our ability to feed ourselves now and into the future. Geologists also help find sources of minerals that are used to fertilize our agricultural products and increase outputs.

Potable Water

Nothing is more imperative to our ability to survive than the availability of drinkable water. Our water comes from lakes, rivers and underground aquifers that can easily become contaminated if not monitored and protected. Geologists perform essential work mapping out the configuration of bodies of water both above and underground and identifying potential sources of pollution and contamination that would affect our ability to drink it, swim in it and bathe with it.


Public Safety

Our ability to survive natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, floods and volcanic eruptions is enormously influenced by our ability to predict their occurrence as much as possible, as well as plan and engineer structures to mitigate their impact.
Geologists play an integral role in studying seismic activity, weather patterns and tectonic movements to assist in preparing for potential adverse events. They also assist in engineering structures to withstand flooding, earthquakes and more.
Any time you drive anywhere, you can also thank a geologist for ensuring that the bridges and roads have been safely designed with the stability of the underlying sediments and rock in mind. The next time you are in a skyscraper, you can also marvel at the geologic engineering that ensured such a structure had a properly stable foundation to support itself.

Brushing Your Teeth

Public domain image courtesy of the USGS.
I’ll bet you didn’t think dental health had any relation to geology. But the main ingredient in toothpaste (and water) that keeps your tooth enamel healthy and strong – fluoride – is a mineral found in rock. Who do you think searches for and finds that mineral? You guessed it – geologists.
Minerals are also added to some foods and of course vitamins, which many people take to boost their health. These are all substances that geologists may be charged with finding.


Using Your Phone

These days, precious minerals like gold, silver and platinum are used for so much more than jewelry and coins. Our modern world has an insatiable appetite for cell phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, music players and other electronics. All these tools require a variety of metals and minerals like lithium, copper, silicon, zinc, aluminum and many more to perform the amazing functions we take for granted.
These applications are really just the tip of the iceberg. The study of geology truly touches our lives every single day whether we are aware of it or not. So be sure to thank a geologist today!
Interested in learning more about geology? Here are some recommended geology online learning resources.
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