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Position Statement

GSA: Science, Stewardship, Service


Geoscience and Natural Hazards Policy

Adopted October 2005; Revised November 2008; Revised April 2012

Position Statement
The Geological Society of America (GSA) urges scientists, policy makers, and the public to work together to reduce our vulnerability to natural hazards. GSA strongly supports government investment in research, monitoring, and outreach programs to better characterize the nature and distribution of natural hazards and their impacts on modern society, to increase hazards awareness, and to enlist the resources of the private sector. Geoscientists must effectively communicate and integrate their research and monitoring results into functional public policy, reach out to the private sector for mutual benefit, and work to integrate geoscience into scientifically sound educational programs at all levels.

This position statement (1) encourages increased public and private investments to reduce natural hazards vulnerability through better understanding of geologic processes; (2) emphasizes the crucial role of geoscience education and outreach in broadening the public’s understanding of their risk from natural hazards and the available options to reduce risk; and (3) promotes active participation of geoscientists in implementing public policy that will improve society’s resilience to natural hazards.


We inhabit a dynamic planet. Human society is increasingly vulnerable to the results of earth processes, because of growing populations in hazard-prone locations and the interconnection of modern economies, with the risks increasing every year. For example:


Although geoscientists cannot eliminate natural hazards, they can help to reduce their consequences. In particular, there is considerable value to society when science results in practical mitigation strategies that improve overall resilience to disasters. Therefore, GSA makes the following recommendations:


 Opportunities for GSA and GSA Members to Help Implement Recommendations

To facilitate implementation of the goals of this Position Statement and to increase the involvement of geoscientists in developing hazard policy, GSA recommends the following actions:


Position Statements adopted by GSA Council may be used freely in their entirety by members in public policy discussions on the scientific issues to which they pertain.

About the Geological Society of America

The Geological Society of America (GSA), founded in 1888, is a scientific society with over 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA advances the geosciences, enhances the professional growth of its members, and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geologic issues, and supports all levels of earth-science education. Inquiries about GSA or this position statement should be directed to GSA’s Director for Geoscience Policy, Kasey S. White, at +1-202-669-0466 or .

© The Geological Society of America, Inc.