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AS and A Level: Hazardous Environments
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The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico accelerated the small category 1 hurricane into a monster, a category 5 hurricane. Somehow the Hurricane weakened from it stages as a category 5 to a category 3 on the morning August 29, 2005 when it made landfall in southeast Louisiana. Katrina cause severe damage to the Gulf coast as long as central Florida and Texas. The most deaths occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, after the levee system failed and massive flooding began.
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However the vast majority of the damage was caused in Jamaica. What caused it to be an extreme weather event Firstly, Hurricane Dean was the strongest tropical cyclone of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, scaling in at ?5? on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale during its peak strength. It also reached up to a max wind speed of 175mph for a sustained time of around one minute. It was also measured on its cost in damage to the countries that it effected, reaching a total of around $1.6 Billion.
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To what extent is magnitude the main factor to influence the type and level of challenge posed by tectonic hazards?
The other factors I will evaluate are Level of development where I will consider if the country?s economic standings have an affect on there vulnerability to the hazard and to do this I will use examples from Haiti in 2010 and Chile in 2010. Another factor that could be as influential as magnitude or maybe even more could be Duration, where how long the event lasts for could have a significant impact on its damage to the physical and natural environment and to explore this I will use examples from the Iceland volcano 2010.
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Then the water sprung up in to a travelling along the Pacific Ocean causing a tsunami, this caused over 15,000 deaths, 6,000 injured and 4,000 missing. Another cause of the tragic tsunami was that it gained an extra metre in height because the coast line dropped a metre; this was one of the effects of the earthquake. Social effects The effects on people were that there houses had fallen down and many were homeless. The disaster caused falling birth rates, some mothers and children were forced to move to other towns and cities, even 200-300 miles away from their broken homes.
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To what extent can the theory of plate tectonics explain global distribution of seismic and volcanic activity?
The evidence for his theory that the continents were once joined includes continental fit where some continents seem to fit together if they were placed next to each other. This is particularly true if the continental shelves are taken into account as the edges of the land masses. Moreover, there is geological evidence where rocks of the same type and age that display the same formation have been found in South-East Brazil and South Africa and the mountain trends are also similar in the eastern United States of America and North-West Europe, when the continents are placed in their old positions.
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The World Distribution of Population is as important as the world distribution of areas of tectonic activity in predicting the hazards of volcanic activity. Discuss this statement
The map below shows how populations are mostly concentrated near coastlines and in habitable environments (i.e. Europe rather than the Arctic Circle), overall. Further to this, 50.5% live in urban areas and world population is highly concentrated in areas rich in resources (coal, oil, minerals, fishing) and temperate in climate. The reason being that people need a source of income, provided by natural resources to some extent, whilst temperate climates provide rain and heat for growing crops, essential for emerging developing economies and previously vital for the developed economies whose focuses now lie in secondary, tertiary or quaternary sectors.
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Choose either the Philippines or California and explain why it is considered a disaster hotspot. (15 marks)
The Philippines is located at a destructive plate boundary (Eurasian and Philippine plates) so as a result, there is regular volcanic eruptions which cause pyroclastic flows and lahars. As they?re vulnerable due to their lack of advanced infrastructure, this causes a disaster for them (following Dregg?s model). An example of a volcanic eruption that had large impacts was the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 where it was the biggest eruption seen in 50 years. Volcanic activity causes a secondary disaster which is earthquakes, causes $844,485 worth of damage, mainly agriculture and property, and affecting 2.25 million people.
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With the ability to predict earthquakes, governments can make sure that people are evacuated before major earthquakes hits, therefore reducing the impact on human life by the earthquake. So even to this day, the question as to why we still cannot predict earthquakes remains. There have been many attempts by seismologists to predict earthquakes, through the process of mapping fault lines, which are evidently clear after an earthquake occurs. However, although this may seem like an effective way to predict an earthquake, its success has been greatly limited.
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A new volcanic cone begins to form on top of the hot spot. A few active volcanoes do exist in locations well away from any plate margin. These are volcanic hot spots . They may be in the ocean, which is where the best known example, the Hawaiian islands , lies. Others are on land, for example the volcanic region around Rotorua in the North Island of New Zealand.
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phreatic eruption of ash and steam in July, troops from the USA and British Navy came to aid this process and emergency aid was given from the UK Government for temporary buildings, schools, clean water, medical services and food. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory was also setup consisting of seven station which advised residents to move North in August 1997, saving lives from the following eruptions. They monitored the changes in the volcano such as the swelling and deflating of the dome with equipment such as a tilt meter and an extensive 24/7 seismograph network which allowed them to predict the lava dome collapse which happened on the 25th June 1997.
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For example, the run drills in their schools so children will know what to do in case there is an earthquake. There are also a lot stricter rules on building regulations, so they are more likely to survive an earthquake than collapse. Because of this only 525 were killed and the total costs were $15-30 billion which is relatively small compared to other earthquakes of similar size.
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The Earth's magnetic field is what would be expected if there were a large bar magnet located at the centre of the Earth. The magnetic field is composed of lines of force. Initial studies of the how the position of the Earth's magnetic pole varied with time were conducted in Europe. These studies showed that the magnetic pole had apparently moved through time. When similar measurements were made on rocks of various ages in North America, however, a different path of the magnetic pole was found.
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(a) Suggest why some places are more at risk of experiencing a major volcanic disaster? and (b) Explain why the Philippines and California multiple hazard spots are affected by disasters in different ways?
Also there are volcanic eruptions from hot spots within plates where there is a large amount of heat flow in these areas. An example of this is Hawaii, which has a number of volcanoes. Other reason why some places are more a risk than others is because of their prediction and evacuation systems. In poorer countries such as Indonesia they don?t have the equipment or expertise to predict earthquakes and they don?t have the media to broadcast potential volcanoes and this leaves these places more at risk than places such as Iceland which have better prediction, planning and preparation and this leaves them less chance of experiencing a major volcanic disasters.
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Volcanic and seismic events are major pieces of evidence towards proving that plate-tectonics theory is valid Discuss the extent to which you agree with this statement. [40 marks]
4.2). Along a noncliffed shoreline (such as the Atlantic coasts of North America and Africa), the land usually slopes gently toward the sea. This gently sloping land, some of which may be above sea level and some below, is called the continental shelf or platform. At the edge of the continental shelf there is commonly a sharp drop-off to the steeper continental slope. At the bottom of the steep continental slope, the land begins to level off again. This more gently sloping land is called the continental rise; it marks the transition to the much flatter ocean floor, called the abyssal plain.
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