Discuss the View That the Impact of Earthquake Hazards Depends Primarily on Human Factors.

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Geography essay: seismic hazards (retry) Discuss the view that the impact of earthquake hazards depends primarily on human factors. (40 marks) JUNE 2011 I agree with the statement that the impact of earthquake hazards is primarily due to human factors. Although there are some non-human factors, the impact depends strongly upon population density, construction codes and emergency preparedness which are all due to human activity. Earthquakes are formed due to the movements within the earth and on the crust. The lithosphere is divided into 7 major plates, including the North-American plate, and several minor plates. Between these plates are three different types of plate boundaries: constructive, destructive and conservative. Earthquakes can occur at all three when pressure builds up and is released in one sudden movement. The Earth’s plates move due to convection currents within the mantle in the Earth’s asthenosphere. As heat rises and cools it forces the plates in different directions; either sliding past one another, away or towards each other. At a constructive plate margin the plates are moving away from one another, this process is also known as sea-floor spreading and an example of a constructive margin is where the Eurasian plate meets the North-American plate. The Ring of Fire is the name for a ring of volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean that result at destructive boundaries where the denser oceanic plate is subducted beneath a continental plate, to form an oceanic trench. At conservative margins the plates slide sideways past each other, either in the same direction or in opposite directions. A natural hazard is a natural event that has the ability to adversely affect people and their property. In an earthquake the primary hazard is the ground shaking which leads to injury or loss of life. Although humans have no control over the duration of time that
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