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One of the most important thing that Geological Engineers do is to identify geological hazards to life and property from their effects.
Catastrophic hazards like earthquakes, land slides, rock falls, collapsing sinkholes and old mine workings have immediate and disastrous consequences to life and property. These things, if identified in a timely manner can often be prevented, or at least the effect thereof can be mitigated. Hurricanes and tsunamis cannot be prevented, but we can build structures (including foundations, dam, levies, etc. which we as geological engineers design) that will resist the the effect of hurricanes and tsunamis.
Other geological hazards such as subsidence, erosion, expansive and collapsible soils are not really well known because they are not "catastrophic" and do not get reported in newspaper headlines. However the cumulative dollar cost of such geological hazards is probably very similar to that of the catastrophic hazards. The reason we don't hear about it is that the cost is spread out over hundreds of thousands of home owners and businesses, and the cost is borne but those individuals, businesses and where cover by a large number of insurance companies. These consequences are entirely preventable. Good engineering design, coupled with competent geological engineers who can identify these problems could save billions of dollars in our economy.
For a good overview of geological hazards, please click on the link below: