• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Earthquakes - the diverse variety of physical (geological and geographic) and human (economic, political and historical) factors that influence how significant an earthquake can be

Extracts from this document...


Earthquake Show how the impact of earthquakes varies with the scale of the hazard & other factors. There are a diverse variety of both physical (geological and geographic) and human (economic, political and historical) factors that influence how significant an earthquake can be. The magnitude of the earthquake can be measured by seismographs using a logarithmic Richter scale, measuring the earthquake strength. However this often bears little resemblance to the actual impact of the earthquake, (which can be measured using the descriptive / qualitative Modified Mercalli scale which measures the physical effect of the earthquake) for the following reasons... One of the ideas that must be considered is how the magnitude of the earthquake is not directly proportional to the intensity of the earthquake as there is a considerable distance between the focus (point of fracture) and epicentre (point on surface vertically above focus on earth surface). If the focal point is 'shallow' (under 70km deep) then the impact of the earthquake is greatest, but if the point is e.g. 500km deep then potential impact is reduced. However it is usually accepted as a generalisation that a more powerful earthquake can potentially cause greater damage. ...read more.


Although it is still a technological impossibility to accurately predict earthquakes, there have been some scientific advances in nations such as Japan, China & USA. However, the plate tectonics theory can be used at a global scale, and regionally previous data could be used to predict forthcoming quakes. However it is not possible to predict the exact date or intensity of these - Predicting an earthquake hours before its occurrence is based on e.g. changes in groundwater levels, radon gas emission (by measuring the rate of decomposition in boar holes) and animal behaviour. Particularly in the United States, complex GIS systems are being used to create hazard maps, taking the likes of liquefaction and landslide potential into consideration (Californian "Earthworm" mentioned below). Community preparedness is a key factor in managing the hazard, and there are two levels - Public preparedness as well as Government / emergency services preparedness. Authorities make sure the most appropriate action is taken by analysing previous experiences. A general initial public response that is requested in the event of an earthquake is to have emergency supplies in stock, move under protective furniture and then await rescue - a strategy obviously aimed at minimising potential risk. ...read more.


Although the Californian GIS system appears to be very impressive and enable a near instant response to earthquakes, these are simply future plans and technology is still being developed; little of the aims have yet been implemented. In 1990, the Japanese government allowed transference of some of Tokyo's power to other, less earthquake-prone regions such as North Honshu. Whilst this is a good idea as it reduced potential economic / administrative difficulty be there an earthquake in Tokyo, realistically a quake in Tokyo would affect the global economy. Although one would think that a government would try and help the citizens as much as possible following a disaster, aid movements in the past have been hindered. After the 1995 Kobe quake, Japan initially adamantly refused to accept foreign aid (although it had a shortage of e.g. medical teams). After the Izmit disaster in Turkey 1999 the government slowed down Aid transfers by imposing import duty on them, and also refusing to accept Greek blood although many were in desperate need for blood. In Mexico 1985, the government hindered aid movement for the first few days by believing they could cope with the crisis without any external help. In such examples governments have prioritised pride over the welfare of their citizens. Muppets. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hazardous Environments section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hazardous Environments essays

  1. Describe the global distribution of earthquakes.

    An additional 80,000 buildings were badly damaged. The large numbers of damaged traditional-style Japanese residences and small, traditional commercial buildings of three stories or less account for a great deal of the damage. In sections where these buildings were concentrated in the outlying areas of Kobe, entire blocks of collapsed buildings were common.

  2. A comparison of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the Kobe Earthquake.

    Freeway and the Bay Bridge were experiencing exceptionally light traffic at the time. Not taking this into account, initial media reports guessed the death toll at 300, a number that was corrected in the days after the earthquake. After the 1906 earthquake much of the rubble was bulldozed into San Francisco Bay.

  1. Monserrat - geological uncertanty

    What's a phreatic explosion? Phreatic (pronounced "free-a--tick") is from the Greek word for "well". Not "well" as in, "The eruption's going well.". It means "well" in the sense of water from the ground. When magma meets ground water a huge amount of steam is produced VERY quickly; so quickly that there is an explosion.

  2. Explain why some physical environments attract more human activity than others

    Dormant volcanoes can be an attractive landscape, many people visit volcanoes from around the world. The tourism can be highly beneficial to LEDCs as it can provide many jobs for the unemployed, especially where skilled workers are scarce and people need basic labour to survive.

  1. Can Human Innovation Greatly Minimise The Impact Of Earthquakes?

    The police, fire, ambulance, hospitals and the military are all very crucial to the community after an earthquake for obvious reasons. This was especially true in the years 1906 and 1989, where the world witnessed two of the biggest earthquakes ever to be recorded.

  2. California and the Phillippines - Hazard Hotspots and Human Management of Risks

    are a daily event, but most can't be felt (they're low on the Richter Scale) * An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 occurred on Luzon Island in 1990, killing over 1500 people. Although the Philippines suffers from more hazards than any other country in the world, a lot has been done

  1. Volcanic and seismic events are major pieces of evidence towards proving that plate-tectonics theory ...

    as Wegener did, that the rock sequences and glacial deposits match and that the fossil evidence is consistent with the reconstructed paleogeography. Plageomagnetic bands and the spreading of the sea floor 1. This new understanding of apparent polar wandering helped revive the hypothesis of continental drift.

  2. Why might predicting earthquakes be a near impossible goal?

    Such an example would be in a small hamlet in California, where scientists, using seismometers, creep meters, geochemicals and global positioning systems predicted that an earthquake would occur there in 1993. Even though they had all this equipment at their disposal to predict this earthquake, their predictions were slightly out,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work