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

Earthquakes: Why do some places suffer more than others?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Earthquakes: Why do some places suffer more than others? Whilst earthquakes are perhaps the most frequently occurring natural hazard, their impact on people, property and communities varies enormously from one place to another. It is possible to identify a number of factors that cause some places to suffer more than others. Whilst some are large scale and are to do with tectonic location, others are decided at a much more local scale, and relate to building design and levels of preparedness. Perhaps the most significant factor determining why some places suffer more than others is the tectonic location of an area. The distribution of earthquakes is commonly linked to the margins of global plates. Whilst the assertion that earthquakes only occur at plate margins is broadly true, it would be overly simplistic to assume that earthquakes are more common, and more devastating at some margins than at others. Yet it remains apparent that most earthquakes do coincide with the major plate margins, although a smaller number do occur away from plate boundaries. Generally speaking, earthquakes at destructive plate margins have a greater spread, and therefore affect more places than those at constructive plate margins, however this is a generalization, and earthquakes are subject to individual variation. ...read more.

Middle

People are often informed about potential dangers, and how to respond when earthquakes do occur. Furthermore, emergency services regularly practice their response procedures, so in the event of an earthquake the reaction is as smooth as possible. Typically, supplies of food, water, medicines and shelter are also stored in recognised safe areas ready for coping with the aftermath of an earthquake. Education and preparation are undoubtedly factors in reducing the scale of a disaster, particularly regarding the response after the event in terms of rescuing injured people and preventing the spread of disease. However, even the best laid plans can fail to live up to expectations. This was exemplified with the Kobe earthquake, when emergency teams reacted slowly, and appeared to be totally overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. Poorer countries tend to be less aptly prepared. Whilst this is due in part to the lack of money to invest in materials and educational programmes, it is also because earthquakes are often perceived as infrequent problems in a society facing daily struggles for survival of a much more mundane nature. The geology of an area is further decisive in the ultimate significance a quake will have. ...read more.

Conclusion

In poorer parts of the world building design is often inadequate and, although building standards might be officially in place, regulations are rarely enforced. This was certainly the case in Mexico City, when in 1985 several modern high-rise buildings collapsed as concrete crumbled and thin steel cables tore apart. Conclusively, the impact of earthquakes on human activity varies significantly across the world. This is partly because the events themselves are unevenly distributed, both in terms of their geographical location and their magnitude, but also because people and societies have reached different levels of preparedness, in terms of building design and construction, and in their ability to educate people and respond after an earthquake event. Two earthquakes of a similar magnitude might be expected to have similar effects on human activity, but this is often not the case. Perhaps more than anything else, it is the ability of a country to respond to earthquake vulnerability that determines the likely impact, and there can be no doubt that the economic development factor is paramount in this respect. Whilst there can be no doubt that tremendously powerful earthquakes will cause destruction wherever they occur, it does seem to be the case that, all things being equal, LEDCs tend to suffer more than MEDCs. ...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. Why do LEDC's Suffer Greater Damage From Earthquakes Than MEDC's

    An example of an earthquake in an MEDC is the earthquake that occurred in Kobe, Japan, in January 1995. There were devastating effects of this earthquake. There were 5,100 deaths as a result of the earthquake and over 25,000 people were injured.

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

    Geothermal energy is a prime way to utilise a potential hazard. This is mainly done in MEDCs as it is large scale, and uses expensive technology. Iceland is a great example, where there is a high concentration of volcanoes. Apart from hydropower, Iceland's major source of energy is created from geothermal heat, acquired in the 5 geothermal power plants.

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

    Fires raged in some sections of the city and as water mains had broke; there was a lack of water. San Francisco's fireboat (the Phoenix) was used to pump salt water from San Francisco Bay through hoses dragged through streets by citizen volunteers.

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

    This meant (especially in 1906) that the infrastructure was virtually bought to a halt! However, the difference in disaster between the two earthquakes is quite significant and a lot of this is down to human innovation. The earlier earthquake recorded more on the Richter scale and was at a different

  1. Earthquakes are perhaps one of natures most breathtaking, yet deadly and destructive wonders.

    together with one eventually subsiding underneath the other and being forced into the mantle where it melts. Many earthquakes occur daily worldwide, even here in Scotland, they are so small however they pass unnoticed. These tremors are the result of developing fault lines which are much smaller fractures to the

  2. The focus of this paper will be the Queen Charlotte Islands earthquake of 1949.

    The Federal Government implemented the National Building Code of Canada, an important function of the Canadian National Earthquake Hazards Program. The code provides standards for earthquake-resistant construction in earthquake-prone zones (The Geological Survey of Canada, 2000). The earthquake-proof design is an effort to give structures, their foundation and contents, features which enable them to survive earthquakes.

  1. Multiple Hazards in Cities: Examples from London, Mexico City and Los Angeles

    The other solution is to plant desalinate plants along the coast, though this has high energy problems. Much of L.A's basin is covered with chaparral vegetation, so in the dry summers any spark can cause a massive bushfire.

  2. With Relation to different natural disasters, discuss their impacts and how they may vary ...

    than those of MEDC's, and so they will now withstand the seismic waves as well as those securely built houses of MEDC's. This means that if more house collapse there will be more casualties as a direct impact of this.

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