Earthquakes: the Same Effects, but Differing Responses

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Allysa R

Geography May 2011

Earthquakes: the Same Effects, but Differing Responses

        Earthquakes are the result of energy release within the earth’s crust, as well as an immense natural hazard greatly affecting people – despite whether it is a more or less economically developed country. However, the way in which responses occur may differ between these regions.

Underlying friction is the initial cause of earthquakes. As tectonic plates begin to shift, they are resistant and still held together by friction – whether with another plate, or the mantle. However, the force to shift the plate continues despite the friction against this force, until the force overpowers the friction and the plate moves; causing many impacts. Some include shaking and ground rupture; resulting in more or less damage to infrastructure, landslides and avalanches; which can occur if slopes are produced from the earthquake; and fires, if the earthquake causes damage to electrical power or gas lines. Other impacts include those caused by water – such as a tsunami; if the earthquake has caused sudden or abrupt movement of large masses of water, and floods; which occur from an overflow of water onto land. Lastly, humans can be impacted as earthquakes can cause injury and loss of life. Responses to earthquakes are affected by economic factors and types of technology available. Some immediate responses include rescue and medical teams taking action, tents given out to aid those affected, and emergency food and supplies distributed. Some long-term responses include re-built buildings, re-established water supplies, and tightened building laws to prevent damage in case of future natural hazards. Primary effects include buildings collapsing, roads to crack, bridges to fall, and several other factors. Some secondary effects include fires caused by broken gas pipes, diseases caused by corpses that haven’t been buried, and sewerage pipes bursting and later contaminating water supplies.

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As it is a natural hazard that occurs as the result of an energy release within the earth’s crust, at this moment, earthquakes are not preventable. However, scientists are currently conducting research towards these findings. So far, one measure taken to prevent earthquake damage is the construction of buildings. In some places, new laws are being enforced with specific requirements and features of structures that are to be built – such as, for example, base of a building must be made of a material resistant to movement. There are several possible outcomes of earthquakes – therefore many different factors of ...

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A rather brief review of the different impacts that earthquakes have. This needs a lot more detail in terms of the case studies and comparisons between earthquakes in MEDCs and LEDCs. 3 stars