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Discuss how a tectonic hazard can be viewed as purely physical processes.

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Introduction

Discuss how a tectonic hazard can be viewed as purely physical processes: The Earth's crust is made up of seven principal tectonic plates and numerous other smaller plates. The plates are sections of the crust that "float" on the mantle, which is made up of molten rock. Where the plate's meet, huge forces mean that they can form features such as volcanoes, Fold Mountains, deep-sea trenches and earthquakes. There are two main types of tectonic plate. Oceanic crust is often only about 5km thick, but is very dense. Continental crust is considerably thicker, often being approximately 30km deep, but is less dense. Movement between these plates on the faults causes tectonic hazards including earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and these all occur on the faults which are where the plates meet or on the smaller plates. When the plates collide, slide past each other, or slip under pressure, this is when a natural hazard occurs. An earthquake occurs when pressure has built up between two plates until it reaches the point at which it cannot hold any more, the sudden release of pressure causes shockwaves to pass through the earths surface causing the whole ground to shake which can cause severe damage to buildings and can trigger other natural hazards such as land slides. ...read more.

Middle

[In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake killed 140,000 people in this area.] The great destruction which resulted from the 1995 Kobe Earthquake was due to the shallow depth of the focus which was only about 16 kms. Below the surface and the fact that the epicentre occurred close to a very heavily populated area. Seismic shockwaves travelled from Awaji Island (the epicentre) along the Nojima Fault to the cities of Kobe and Osaka. The earthquake that occurred here killed just over 5 thousand people which were greatly reduced from the number killed in 1923. The main reason for this is the increased in awareness and prediction techniques in the country of Japan which is an MEDC. There is clear evidence that the death toll has been reduced here due to the awareness and funding that MEDC's give to hazard prediction. But still the death toll could be reduced if there were less people living in the city. But there is very little flat land in Japan as it is mainly a mountainous area. Most of the people who where injured lived and worked in structures which weren't protected from such hazards as earthquakes. ...read more.

Conclusion

The buildings in both situations could have could have prevented deaths if older buildings where rebuilt or supported, and if they where on a smaller level because few storey buildings are less likely to collapse than the high rise flats and office blocks which are usually built in confined spaces. These are usually built for poorer people and business but if planning was thought through there would be fewer deaths as these structures could be built in other areas which have a low risk. Even though this is not possible in Kobe due to its lack of low land, there still could be changes to buildings and people have been educated what to do if ever the situation was to occur and this is why the earthquake had only a third of the death toll which was seen in Turkey. This clearly shows that simple things can which humans can do to avoid disasters are effective and protect people from injury. I think that tectonic risk could be severely reduced if populations thought out the places they choose to live and then I believe that many lives would be saved as there would be less risk of people getting caught up in the natural physical tectonic hazards which occur and not try to fight them. ...read more.

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