Active tectonics and human survival strategies

Geoffrey King, Geoffrey Bailey, Derek Sturdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Tectonic movements continuously remould the surface of Earth in response to plate motion. Yet such deformation is rarely taken into account when assessing landscape change and its impact on human land use. However, active tectonics also create and sustain landscapes that can be beneficial to human survival, forming a complex topography of potentially fertile sedimentary basins enclosed by mountain barriers that can facilitate the control and exploitation of food resources, especially animal prey. We discuss the tectonic history of northwest Greece and show how the Paleolithic sites of the region are located to take advantage of tectonically created features at both a local and a regional scale. We suggest that the association of significant concentrations of early Paleolithic sites with tectonically active regions is not coincidental and that on the longer time spans of human biological evolution, active tectonics has been an important selective agent contributing to the development of the human species as an intelligent predator. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20063-20078
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue numberB10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Active tectonics and human survival strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this