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Earthquakes don't kill people. Buildings do!

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Introduction

Earthquakes don't kill people. Buildings do! Tectonic folding, faulting and warping of rocks form major features of the earth's surface such as mountain ranges and ocean basins. Earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis are hazards that result from these major geological processes. Earthquakes can be located on conservative, constructive and destructive plate margins. At a conservative margin the tectonic plates move past each other resulting in shear stresses. The motion occurs along a break in the crust known as a fault. At a constructive plate margin (along the ocean ridges) earthquakes are shallow and are a result of volcanic activity as magma is moving upwards, but these earthquakes pose no threat to people as they are submarine. On a destructive plate margin (where oceanic plate is being sub-ducted beneath a continental plate or where two oceanic plates collide in island arc zones) ...read more.

Middle

These earthquakes are called intra-late earthquakes, and can be caused by stresses due to plate movement but also have other causes and this is why it is hard to predict them. Isostatic recoil can causes some stresses in crustal rocks that may reactivate ancient faults. Earthquakes do not last very long, usually between 30-60 seconds. But this does not mean that they cannot cause serious damage. The emergency procedures that have been issued in earthquake prone areas will rarely make a sure difference as earthquakes cannot really be predicted in masses amounts of time before it happens. So because of this when an earthquakes occurs it takes people by surprise and they do not know what to do as they are in shock. Although saying this, some simple procedures can save lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

The answer to this problem is to build buildings that will hopefully stay standing in the event of an earthquake. An example of a building that has had a lot of thought and money put into it is the Transamerica building in San Francisco. It is built on solid rock and has massive rubber shock absorbers in the foundations. It is also slightly shaped like a pyramid, this is to lower the centre of gravity so that the top of the buildings doesn't shake and wobbly as much. Although the building will still shake, this is because it has some "slack" as such, because if it was really stiff the foundations would crack and the building would collapse. Interlocking steel girders also provide some flexibility, as the joints are not quite solid. If a building is built on a site known as a soft sediment site, then the building is virtually guaranteed to fall down. Mark Ellis 13Bn Geography ...read more.

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