Public Release: 

EARTH: Urban geology

An emerging discipline in an increasingly urbanized world

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA - More than half of the total human population on Earth lives in urban areas, where, like rural areas, geology affects us every day. Yet when we think about "geology," most of us think of the hinterlands. That needs to change, argue the authors of a new feature in EARTH Magazine discussing what the role of urban geology is, what it can be and the potential role geoscience organizations can play in curating the geologic data revealed during construction, excavations and surveys.

Going back as far as the early founders of the USGS, the Geological Society of America and the Geological Association of Canada, geoscientists have been recording information that can inform how land can, or should, be used by residents. Scientists and politicians are caught in a balancing act of trying to promote the local economy but protect populations that may have settled in a given location prior to an extensive knowledge of the local geology and hazards that may exist.

Not only does urban geology have the potential to protect communities, but it can be used as an outreach tool to inspire and influence residents through geoheritage programs. Explore the breadth of what urban geology can mean to a city in the March issue of EARTH Magazine:

EARTH Magazine brings you the science behind the headlines. From freezing lab spaces to snowy mountain tops, EARTH reports on how scientists are solving the mysteries of avalanches. Also in March, EARTH examines how leftover tools and bones from a fire pit gave scientists clues about the wandering behavior of ancient Americans, and we explore the geology and history of the Kings Highway through Jordan. These stories and much more are available through


Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at: Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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