The images of rivers spilling over their banks and washing away entire towns, buildings decimated to rubble by the violent shaking of the Earth's plates, and molten lava flowing up from inside the Earth's core are constant reminders of the power of the Earth. Humans are simply at the whim of the forces of Mother Nature—or are we?
Whether it is from a great natural disaster, a short-term weather event like El Nino, or longer-term processes like plate tectonics, Earth processes affect us all. Yet,we are only beginning to scratch the surface of our understanding of Earth sciences. We believe the day will come when our understanding of these dynamic Earth processes will prompt better policies and decisions about saving lives and property. One key place to start is in America's classrooms.