Natural Hazards - The Geology of Virginia

Kinsey Run scar
Debris flow scar left by 1995
1000-year storm event,
Madison County


he natural environment poses a number of hazards to human civilization. When steep slopes in Virginia’s highlands are saturated with rain they may fail and flow rapidly downhill. Long-duration winter storms (Nor’easters), summer hurricanes, and their remnants transport large amounts of sediment and cause significant beach erosion along Virginia’s coast and barrier islands.

Some geologic hazards, such as radon gas, work over longer time scales and require years before their effect is fully recognized. While others such as Virginia's subtle earthquakes remind us of our state's geologic history.  Making use of geologic information to make wise land use decisions can lessen the threat from many of these hazards.

Coastal Erosion