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Volcanoes are more dangerous hazards than earthquakes - Discuss the truth of this statement.

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Introduction

Volcanoes are more dangerous hazards than earthquakes. Discuss the truth of this statement. A volcano is a mountain or hill formed by the build up of materials erupted through one or more openings in the earth's surface (such as lava, ash, cinders, dust, and hot gas). Volcano eruptions occur along the earth's tectonic plates where molten rock is forced upward from magma reservoirs deep in the earth (and subsequently forms lava when it reaches the earth's surface). A violent explosion can cause the top of the volcano to blow off leaving a deep crater. An earthquake is the intense vibration of the crust of the earth caused by underground volcanic action or by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the surface. The volcanic action and shifting rocks create strain which continues to build to a sudden release of pressure resulting in a shock wave, which can be classified as a primary wave (which send particles oscillating back and forth in the same direction as the waves are travelling) or a secondary wave (which cause vibrations which move perpendicular to the wave). Secondary waves travel on the surface of the earth and move much slower than primary waves and therefore primary waves arrive at the epicentre before the secondary waves do when an earthquake occurs. ...read more.

Middle

However, people living close can also be taught what to do in case of a volcano eruption. It is also argued however, that the opposite is true and that earthquakes are more hazardous than volcanoes. One fact to back this up is that there is still no guaranteed method for predicting when and where an earthquake will occur or how strong it will be. However some success in earthquake prediction has been reported in recent years. Several countries, including the United States, China, Japan and Russia are actively supporting research for earthquake predicting. For example, in 1975, just two days before a magnitude 7.3 earthquake destroyed the city of Haicheng, the Chinese government evacuated 90,000 residents. The evidence used to support the prediction was a series of foreshocks occurring in the area five years earlier. Other possible prediction methods being investigated are changing ground water levels, increased concentration of rare gases in well water, tilts and bulges in the earth's surface (using tiltmeters), changes in the earth's magnetic field, changes in the velocity and propagation of P and S waves and the odd behaviour of animals. So far however, although some of these methods are successful some of the time, there are no reliable prediction techniques which are continuously correct. ...read more.

Conclusion

But however, another important piece of information is that earthquakes at sea can result in a huge tidal wave (or tsunami). These waves move with tremendous speed and power and can demolish coastal communities where the sea bottom 'lifts' the water as it rolls up on the land. Volcanoes at sea however cause insignificant consequences. Earthquakes can cause landslides and fires too, both of which can be very devastating. Furthermore, when shock waves from an earthquake strike some types of soil, they result in a condition called liquefaction. Liquefaction occurs when soils lose their ability to bear weight and behave much like quicksand. Buildings which have been constructed on these soils quickly topple and may even be swallowed up. This occurrence was observed in the huge San Francisco earthquake in 1906. When a volcano erupts on the other hand, soil conditions are usually improved as huge amounts of minerals are given to the soil, thus enabling crops to grow much better. In conclusion I believe that the statement 'volcanoes are more dangerous hazards than earthquakes' to generally be false. Although earthquakes can be prepared for a lot better than volcano eruptions, earthquakes are less easy to predict and cause a substantial amount more damage. Earthquakes are also more frequent and usually affect a larger area and can also cause tsunamis, floods, fires, landslides and the liquefaction of soil. Iden Ranapour 1 ...read more.

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