Why Geology Matters

Why does the geology of our State matter?

To the citizens of North Carolina, the importance of the geology of our State and of geologic processes does not come into our everyday thinking.  Geologists think about how the geology of our State affects our everyday lives.  Depending on who you are and where you live in our State, geology will be important to you for different reasons.

“Just knowing” – Knowledge is everything….  Many problems in life can be avoided all together or their impacts softened by just having some basic knowledge of what to expect.  If you are a citizen buying a home, a builder building a small or large construction project, or a County Planner planning for the future, understanding the potential impacts from the geology will give you the tools to make informed choices in all steps of your decision process.

In most cases, the geology beneath ones feet does not have a negative effect.  But in some situations geology can control important factors, that if overlooked, can have a significant financial impact or cause injury and/or death.  Also, geology may be the key to understanding and mitigating existing issues.

Below are examples of how geology can be important to different people:

Kids (and Educators):

The geology of North Carolina is the result of a long and sometimes violent geologic history that includes erupting volcanoes with lava and ash, the breaking apart and colliding of continents, earthquakes, dinosaurs and giant sharks.  This geologic history is exciting, allows kids to imagine, is a source of wonder, and hopefully gets them interested in science.  Geology is an important part of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  For North Carolina to remain a leader in STEM careers, the next generation of STEM scientists need to be motivated.  Geology is an excellent avenue to foster general interest in the sciences.

A basic understanding of geology and geologic processes will give them the tools to make informed decisions about earth-science issues as adults.  Read more

Home buyer:

Many adults aspire to owning a home (and possibly owning vacation or rental property). The geology of where you live may have a big impact on the short and long-term maintenance of the home and may directly impact the quality of the water you drink.  Read more.


As changes of land use and urban development encroaches onto less suitable sites, knowledge of the connection between the ground beneath a home site and the home itself becomes increasingly critical to the homebuyer.  An informed realtor may want to be aware of the potential hazards listed above for the home buyer.  Read more.


For businesses to be successful, cost effectiveness is key.  A simple understanding of geology can help a business owner make informed decision on a variety of topics.  Whether you are the owner of a construction company that needs crushed stone for a project or a plant nursery that wants to put in a high yield water supply well…..geology can help.  Read more.

County and city land use planners:

Land use planners must balance land use with respect to multiple demands: residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, mineral-resources, energy-resources, and water-resources.  Geologic maps can be an important tool in the decision making process.  Read more.

Developers and Builders:

Understanding the connection of the land to the short- and long-term construction process has the potential to avoid costly delays.  Additionally this understanding may reduce long-term liability that could arise if serious geologic hazards exist.  Read more.

Emergency Managers:

Essential spatial information on geologic hazards guides local and state emergency managers in their efforts to prepare for, respond to, recovery from, and mitigate hazards.  See how emergency managers can use geologic information in their work.  Read more.