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Earthquakes in Taiwan are fairly frequent, and the Chiayi- lainan area has been senstive to their threats. To promote seismological studies, the Ministry of Education approved the establishment of the frist research Institute of Seismology in the country in 1990. Due to critical environmental concerns in Taiwan and considering the geophysics research trend of the world, the need to cultivate geophysicists in Taiwan has been realized. Hence, the university estahlished another independent Graduate Institute of Applied Geophysics in 1994.

Since the beginning of the century, the earth sciences have been on the threshold of unparalleled opportunities to pursue complex, socially relevant and interdiscipliary problems. Solutions to these problems will necessarily draw on all aspects of the earth sciences. Dramatic new scientific initiatives have been emerging due to recognition of the growing importance of our global and local environments. The earth scientists must play the critical role in monitoring conditions, understanding processes and mitigating the effects of undesirable change.

For these reasons, a novel department under the title of "Earth and Environmental Sciences” was established in 2002. The undergraduate program and two graduate programs are beneficial and helpful to one another in various aspects, including research, teaching, and services to he public.