How does earth's surface change quickly?

1 Answer
Mar 2, 2016

Answer:

Most geological process act very slowly in shaping the surface of the earth, however, there are sudden events that result in rapid change.

Explanation:

Some process that change the surface of the Earth quite rapidly include:

1) major asteroid or comet impact, like the one that killed the dinosaurs had a huge immediate impact on the entire planet.

2) volcanic eruptions and earthquakes result from plate tectonic activity that reaches some tipping point and things change rapidly - at least in a local sense.

3) Heavy rainfalls and monsoons can cause catastrophic changes to the land through slumps, flooding of urban/rural areas and mud slides. Rock landslides also happen suddenly - not always due to heavy rain - and these to can change the local surface rapidly.

4) hurricanes and tornados produce significant changes to the land, though ecosystems and human settlements tend to bounce back in a decade or less.

Some human processes include:

1) fear of a global nuclear war that would contaminate the atmosphere and change the land for centuries - although this possibility seems to be getting less likely.

2) global climate change events, such as rapid and unexpected melting of Greenland or Antarctica ice sheets could produce a relatively rapid (decades perhaps) alteration of coastal areas.