As a result of the catastrophic damage wrought by earthquakes, they are typically viewed in a negative light. However, earthquakes bring about benefits to people, environments and the planet as a whole. In the midst of their epic destruction, there are several positive side effects. Though an earthquake may seem devastating, and is in a certain regard, it is necessary to remember it is a natural process that is part of the planet's natural cycle of evolution and regeneration.
Insight in Geology
Earthquakes offer deeper insight into the ways the planet works. For all that people understand about Earth, there is still a great deal unknown about the planet. The surface of the planet is the easiest layer to explore. Subterranean layers are more difficult to explore because mining through geologic formations and into liquid magma is complex, if not impossible in certain scenarios. The plates and bodies beneath the Earth's surface are constantly in motion, but their inaccessibility makes that difficult to monitor in detail. Earthquakes amplify the natural movements of these bodies, allowing geologists to further their understanding of the planetary layers that cannot be seen.
Push Minerals and Metals to the Surface
Earthquakes cause a shift in the arrangement of rock forms, mineral and ore deposits, and tectonic plates. As a result of these shifts, certain portions of earth may be sucked down into the ground, and other portions may be pushed up to the surface. Earthquakes commonly force mineral and metal-rich deposits close to or above the surface, making them easier to mine and collect.
Make Fossil Fuels Easier to Access
Similarly, shifting plates may make fossil fuels, like petroleum and natural gas, easier to access. In fact, though earthquakes often occur naturally, human activity can encourage a seismic event. Drilling for fossil fuels can cause minor earthquakes. Terrestrial shifts and drilling have a delicate relationship, with one often dramatically affecting the other. An earthquake may make a previously unknown pocket of natural resources evident.
Maintain Planetary Balance
Tectonic plate shifts and earthquakes are part of the planet's natural geologic cycle. Rock and soil are constantly pulled down into the molten layers of the planet as other molten materials move toward the surface, break through and harden. The planet constantly recycles itself to sustain life and adjust to changes on the surface. Earthquakes are one process that allows the planet to maintain a life-sustaining balance.