Physical Geography Earth revision notes

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Key terms

L’Aquila – Italy

Key facts

Occurred on 6th April 2008 at 3:32am . 6.3 on the Richter scale and focus was 9.4km deep . 70,000 made homeless . 300 died and 1500 injured .


Occurred at a destructive plate margin . Between Eurasian and African plates . The African plate was sub ducted by the Eurasian plate (went underneath)

Primary Effects

In Onna , 8/10 buildings were destroyed and 1/10 people were killed . Up to 1000 buildings were destroyed including the L’Aquila cathedral and fossa bridge . Fires were caused and spread extremely quickly , most people were asleep so didn’t notice the fire until it was too late .

Secondary Effects

The after shock was up to 5 on the Richter scale and this caused more deaths and damage . A landslide was created because of a broken water pipe in Paganica , this killed and injured more people .

Immediate responses

There was a camp for the homeless which had food and medical care , and the army were called from all over Italy to help rescue people . Cranes/diggers helped remove rubble slowly as there could be people underneath . Dogs were also sent in for extra help .

Long term responses .

Italy spent $15 billion on repairs . Many people were made redundant because their work places has collapsed . The aftershocks meant the rescuers had to run in and out of the buildings fast . The bills were stopped as the government want to help out .


Key facts

Occurred on 8th October 2005 in Kashmir , Pakistan at 8.50am . It was 7.6 on the Richter scale . The damage cost $5 billion . 250 times more people died than L’Aquila


Occurred at the destructive plate margin . The Indian plate was sub ducted by the Eurasian plate .

Primary Effects

80,000 people died . The main cause of death was collapsing buildings . Hundreds of thousands were injured . Some villages were fully destroyed and thousands of buildings were destroyed . 30,000 square miles was destroyed . 75m fault line . Sewage and gas pipes burst .

Secondary effects

80% of Uri was destroyed . People died from landslides and collapsed buildings . Water supplies , electricity and main roads were shut off . 3 million were made homeless . Many diseases started to spread because of the dirty conditions . Diarrhoea started to spread , this was the main disease . Many people tried to rebuild their homes but couldn’t’;t because of the freezing conditions .

Immediate responses

People started digging with their hands because they didn’t have diggers and cranes . They couldn’t get to everyone quick enough causing deaths that could have been avoided .

Long-term responses

Help took weeks to get there . Within a month all the supplies had been distributed . 40,000 moved to a new town . A new health care was made . Training was given out to help rebuild earthquake proof homes .


A tsunami is usually triggered by an earthquake . The crust shifting is the primary effect . The secondary effect of this is the displacement of water above the moving curst . This is the start of a tsunami .

A tsunami may be 200km in length and only 1m high out at sea there is rapid gain in height as they approach land . They can travel at speeds of 800kpm but slow , reduce in speed and increase in length as they approach land .

. If one tectonic plate is dragged beneath another , stress on the boundary causes the edges of the plates to flex and deform

2. The flexing of the plates displaces the entire column of water vertically .

3. Quickly the water column splits into two with one wave travelling out to sea and the other towards the cost .

4. The tsunami comes ashore and can surge far inland . Often secondary weaves are far more powerful than the initial one .

2004 boxing day tsunami

Date : 26th December 2004

Plate movement : Indo-Australian plate sub ducted the Eurasian plate .

9.1 on the Richter scale

Affected areas : Thailand , Sri Lanka , Malaysia , Kenya , Somalia , India and Indonesia

Highest waves :25m

Deaths L 220,000

Injuries: 650,000

Homeless : 2 million .

Primary Social effects

* In Sri Lanka , the tsunami washed away a train killing 1700 people

* 2 million people were made homeless

* 230,000 were killed

* 650,000 were seriously injured

* hundreds of fishermen went missing off the southern Indian coast and witnesses have reported to see bodies wash up on the beach .

Primary Economic effects

66% of the fishing fleet and industrial infrastructure in the coastal regions around the Indian ocean were destroyed .

Primary environmental effects

* The magnitude 9 earthquake caused land in northern Sumatra to shake up for 10 minutes

* 42 islands in the Maldives were flattened

* vast areas of protective coral was destroyed

* sea water was driven up to 2km inland causing widespread flooding

* coastlines around the Indian ocean had their shape changed

Secondary social effects

* Survivors Have continued to suffer years of trauma having lost friends and family

* Water borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid were spread in the aftermath

* In Banda Aceh , 150,000 were killed and parts of the city were permanent submerged

Secondary Economic effects

* Tourists visits tot the northwest of the coast of Sumatra has virtually stopped .

* In Galle , one year on the main fish market has been rebuilt but the infrastructure supporting the industry is not . Fishermen do not have enough refrigerated trucks to transport fish along the coast , instead they sell their stock on the highway

* The uk public donated £330 million to charities involved in aid and rebuilding

Secondary Environmental effects

* The salt water has damaged drinking water supplies . These will be affected for years

* Four major tsunamis were triggered with waves 30m high

Immediate Response

Foreign counties sent ships , soldiers and a team of specialist to help rescue people , distribute food and water and begin clearing up . Within days hundreds of million of pounds had been pledged by foreign governments , charities , individuals and business to help survivors with supplies , medical care and shelter . The dead were buried to stop the spread of diseases . There was a battle for supplies . Red cross sent thousands to help rescue and friends helped rescues .

Long – term response

Billions of pounds have been pledged to help rebuild the infrastructure of the counties affected . As well as money , programmes have been set up to help with employment and rebuilding homes . There is now a tsunami warning system in the Indian ocean . In some counties there is now disaster management . Volunteers have been trained so they are aware what to do in another tsunami . A school was built for the orphans . $14 billion was raised . 4 years later aid has helped rebuild homes , roads and schools .


Prediction: Trying to forecast when an earthquake will occur . This way you can easily evacuate and be ready for an earthquake . Although this isn’t always accurate and can panic people . A seismograph is used to predict earthquakes . It senses the tremors on the earths surface and is recorded with a pen and vibrates at the same rate as the ground . The longer the lines , the higher the magnitude .


Protection: constructing buildings so they are safe and to an appropriate standard to withstand movement .

There are aseismic buildings (earthquake proof buildings) . When an earthquake occurs you’ll be less panicked of the building collapsing . Although it is expensive . You shouldn’t build your home to clay as this is unstable , a strong foundation is needed . There should be rubber around your home , to absorb the vibrations .

Protection in buildings

* Computer controlled weights on roofs to reduce movement

* Steel frames that reduce the swaying of the building

* Automatic window shutters to prevent falling glass

* Open areas where people can assemble if evacuated

* Foundations sunk into the bedrock , avoiding clay as this is unstable , a strong foundation is needed . There should be rubber around your home , to absorb the vibrations .

* Birdcage interlocking steel frame – they sway which reduce the chances of building falling over .

* Outer panels flexibly attached to the steel structure

* Fire-resistant building materials

* Roads to provide quick access for emergency services (get away from tall buildings before they collapse)

What you will need in an earthquake : water , food , first aid kit , radio , batteries , cash , important documents eg passport , clothing , torch and medication .


Preparation – Organising drills and codes of practice so people know what to do in the case of an earthquake . Although this reduces panic , you could spend time preparing and it may not even happen .

Measuring earthquakes

Mercali scale : records the intensity of an earthquake by measuring the effects of an earthquake

Richter scale : assigns a number to indicate the amount of energy released during an earthquake


Earthquakes are vibrations in the earth’s crust that cause at the earth’s surface . They are highly unpredictable . When a plate goes past another plate , the friction builds up pressure . The plates move because of convection currents . When the pressure keeps building up between the two plates , the plates energy which causes the seismic waves . Seismic waves is the earthquake . They mostly happen at conservation , destructive and constructive plate boundaries .The point above this above ground is called an epicentre , underground it is called a focus .

There are two kinds of waves . Primary waves go up and down they travel the fastest . S waves move back and forth , they arrive second . Earthquake energy moves radically outwards .

Super volcano

A super volcano is a mega colossal volcano that erupts at least 1000km^3 of material . A normal volcano emits roughly 1km^3 .

Key differences

* Shape – they are flat surrounded by higher mountains in contrast to the gentle or steep sided mountain . They have a caldera not a crater

* Size – much bigger but harder to notice

* Scale – more violent , less frequently eruptions , has wider effects , emits more material (ash or magma)

* Impact – have devastating consequences with 200km . All life gone and serious impact on continents unlike volcanos , where effects are more localised .

Formation of a super volcano

. Rising magma cannot escape and a large budge appears on the surface

2. Cracks appear in the surface and gas and ash erupt from the magma chamber

3. The magma chamber collapses , forming a depression called a caldera .

Yellow Stone Super Volcano

It’s a hotspot , the plate goes over it . When a plate goes over a hotspot , the plate melts the earths crust and a large magma chamber is formed . It erupted 2 Million , 1.3 million and 630 million years ago . It’s a massive tourist attraction and it has geysers (hot water erupts into the air). The magma chamber is 80km long , 40km wide and 8km deep .

Yellow stone erupting

* Burns , kills and buries

* Everything is tens of miles will be destroyed

* Triggers a mini ice age

* Blocks sunlight for all continents

* 1000 of cubic km of ash , rock and lava will be thrown out

* Ash settles over hundreds of square km
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Earth is made up of moving plates . Convection currents make the plates move . The core heat is burning hot , as the heat passes up the temperature decreases .

Crust relatively speaking is as thin as the skin of the apple . Oceanic crust (Sima) is layer mainly consisting of basalt averaging 6 to 10km in thickness . At its deepest it has a temperature of 1200 degrees Celsius . Continental crust (sial) can be up to 55km thick . Mantle is made mainly of silicate rocks rich in iron and ...

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