What Are Tectonic Hazards?

Tectonic hazards are geological results of plate shifting exhibited by volcanic eruption, glacial erosion, tsunamis and earthquakes. Earthquakes are the most commonly reported hazards because of the greater likelihood of larger populations along major fault lines than in glacial or oceanic regions.

Tectonic hazards do more than cause damage. Through extreme pressure and heat, new resources are formed. Many of these resources are used in transportation and commerce. One of the biggest benefits of volcanoes is extremely fertile soil. Volcanoes also help provide many of the different metals that contribute to a wide spectrum of technology and culture. Copper, gold, silver lead and zinc are all metals developed from magma sources. These naturally-occurring ores are a positive result of tectonic hazards.

Tectonic hazards provide the oil and natural gas that is used all around the world. As tectonic plates press against each other, the pressure not only forms mountains, it also forms oil deposits. When plant matter enters the deposits, coal is formed. This same pressure and heat provide geothermal heating to entire communities across the globe. Many countries rely heavily on geysers for heating.

Scientists are more capable in the 21st century of being able to calculate and anticipate tectonic hazards before they occur. While it is not completely accurate, this knowledge is used to design safer buildings and evacuation plans.