Understanding geology and geologic processes is crucial to our understanding of the planet and how it operates.
Plate tectonics teaches us about earthquakes and volcanoes and improving our ability to predict them. Look at the Japanese warning systems.
You like driving that car of yours? Understanding sedimentary rocks and stratigraphy (literally the layers of the earth) is crucial for oil and natural gas exploration. Energy companies send their teams every year to study the Book Cliffs in Utah. There are no oil deposits there but it's a great area to study depositional environments and where the good stuff is buried.
Tributes to Jonathan F.