From the Editor

We live on a mobile planet, one that not only whirls us around the Sun annually but also throws us for the occasional loop when the crust beneath our feet proves less than stable. Our features this month address two of the ways that moving Earth affects us and, in particular, tests the infrastructure that we have built up around ourselves.
Karst hazards occur when the surface collapses due to subterranean erosion in limestone terrains. Although they do not often make national news, sinkholes and subsidence are an ongoing and costly problem at a local level. Nowhere is that more true than in the Blue Grass State, as Kentucky State Geologist Jim Cobb and hydrogeologist Jim Currens of the Kentucky Geological Survey describe in our first feature. Karst is also the subject of this month’s Geoscience Education column and a poster enclosed with this issue.
Moving west across the United States and higher up in the headlines, Yumei Wang of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries gives us an overview of the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Nisqually, Wash., on Feb. 28, reminding residents of the Pacific Northwest that they live near an active subduction zone. Wang was part of a team that assessed the post-quake damage, and she offers her perspective on why damage from the Nisqually quake was relatively low and how it shows us what we must do to minimize damage from larger, more destructive quakes in the future.
Such devastation struck India the month before the Nisqually quake when a magnitude-7.7 quake hit that country’s northwest region. Geotimes associate editor Christina Reed asked geologists and engineers who had seen the damage first-hand  why this quake destroyed so many buildings in cities far from the epicenter, leaving a death toll of at least 20,000.
Of course, our planet does not always move itself. In the United States alone, sand and gravel operations and quarries move the equivalent of many mountains to provide the nation’s highway and construction infrastructure. In Comment, R.A.  Edwards of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association discusses current policies that affect his industry. NSSGA is a newly formed trade association that is a merging of the National Stone Association and National Aggregates Association.
For those of you who have grown familiar with the wonderfully lucid letters by Geotimes Editor-in-Chief Sam Adams in this space, we are filling in while Sam and his wife Nancy follow their compass to Australia for a couple of months. We have no doubt that they will make the necessary southern hemispheric adjustments and that he will return to this space soon.

We hope that you enjoy the issue.

David Applegate               Kristina Bartlett
Editor                               Managing Editor