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

1115 Words5 Pages
Earthquakes are tremors in the earth’s crust which are caused mainly by tension between the tectonic plates. The most destructive earthquakes are often at destructive plate boundaries, where the more dense oceanic plate is being subducted under the less dense continental plate. These plates will build up pressure over time before slipping releasing huge amounts of kinetic energy. However earthquakes are apparent along other plate boundaries. Conservative plate boundaries, such as the Pacific and North American plate, move at 2-3cm/year causing damage to cities along the fault, such as Los Angeles. Earthquakes have different impacts depending on the depth of the focus, the exact point underground where the quake struck, but also the human factors such as land use, population density and the infrastructure apparent. The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 was created due to an earthquake that displaced 15-20 metres of water along a 1600km slip plane creating an earthquake that measured at 9.1 on the Richter scale. It caused a tsunami wave (as shown in Figure 1) which resulted in the deaths of 250,000 people. The Loma Prieta earthquake that ruined San Francisco in 1989 resulted in 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries. This earthquake measured at 6.9 on the Richter scale meaning that it was less powerful as each tenth up the Richter scale is a 10 fold increase in power. The impacts in terms of death were vastly different as a result of a lower reading on the scale and therefore, it can be argued that natural factors such as the origin of the earthquake and its force are important factors in determining the impact of earthquakes. The location of the earthquake is also an important factor in how badly damaged a place would be. If the Boxing Day tsunami was much closer to land, the tsunami waves would have been unlikely to reach 15 metres tall and therefore would not have brought as
Open Document