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UK Geohazards

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UK Geohazards

Although we do not think of Britain as experiencing large scale geological hazards, less dramatic ones result in costs of between £0.5bn and £1bn each year, as well as occasional injury or loss of life.

Most significant is the swelling and shrinking of clay formations, which can damage buildings and infrastructure. Other relatively common natural geological hazards include landslides, sinkhole formation by the dissolution of more soluble rocks, and the presence of weak and compressible ground. The geological record also shows that the UK has experienced significant tsunamis in the recent past, and this could happen again.

There are also ‘anthropogenic geohazards’ caused by human activities such as ground contamination, mineral extraction and waste disposal. We are experiencing increasing levels of weather-related hazards such as flooding, including groundwater flooding. The 2012- 2013 flooding events seen across the UK resulted in insurance claims of over £1bn. Geologists have an essential role to play in advising on the construction of flood defences, understanding and managing natural defences, and ensuring land use is planned effectively.

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Aimed at policy and decision-makers as well as the wider public, 'Geology for Society' outlines the importance of geology to our society.