A pile of dry timber and twigs in the forest will just sit there, undisturbed, dormant. Unless that is, it is disturbed by some change in the environment; an especially hot day coupled with litter lout picnickers. That catalyst – the change in the environment – increases the risk of a forest fire.
Asset markets can also remain dormant for years. As the years go by, industries begin to lose their luster, commodity markets suffer decade long bear markets as over-capacity grinds away at returns, and markets disappear off the radar of even the most committed of investors.