I am a geologist by training and my main interest was natural hazards. I was not able to apply my interest to earthquakes or volcanoes as I’d hoped but I did get to help the public deal with sinkhole hazards that also cause property destruction and occasional loss of life. This short film is worth watching. It was a turning point in science and society – the geologic aspect.

Great Alaska quake

There is little sense in praying to be safe from a disaster but EVERY good reason to study, plan and prepare. The average person does not necessarily have to understand seismology or even basic geology to get a benefit from science, but citizens should CERTAINLY appreciate that our advances in knowledge and, consequently, in safety and environmental regulations are based on a scientific process. You can say that about a lot of areas of life. There have been more than one instance to defund these hazard programs and even the USGS itself. How short-sighted and stupid.

This is my philosophy: Science literacy means science appreciation first and foremost. It’s really important.

Remembering the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake, the largest in U.S. history.

Great Alaska Earthquake 50 years ago today: What it taught science – latimes.com.

1 thought on “Science and society: The giant earthquake that launched a new era in geologic knowledge

  1. The USGS provides a great way for all of us to contribute to scientific research with their earthquake reporting system. Living in California, Matt and I often report even the most minor earthquakes we experience. After reporting the first couple that we felt, we now know what data is collected in these reports. As a result, we are now more capable of providing accurate data when we fill out a report on the website.

    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is also doing an amazing job of collecting data from citizens to get a better understanding of not only birds but how climate change is affecting our environment.

    The skeptic community should be informing the general public about all such ‘citizen science’ endeavors and encouraging participation in these endeavors. It is a great way of promoting an understanding and appreciation of science.

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