he natural environment poses a number of hazards to human civilization. When steep slopes in Virginias highlands are saturated with rain they may fail and flow rapidly downhill. Long-duration winter storms (Noreasters), summer hurricanes, and their remnants transport large amounts of sediment and cause significant beach erosion along Virginias 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.