Geo Physical Essay 1

Submitted By Oliver-Pusey
Words: 877
Pages: 4

A Seismic event is an event that happens due to the movement of the earth’s plates, these events can vary in size and the damage they cause due to their focus point. In certain cases the seismic events can cause secondary effects such as tsunamis, if monitored correctly the primary event can warn of the impending secondary danger. At this moment there is no current way to predict when or where a seismic event will strike.
An example of the effects of the primary seismic event and the secondary effects can be seen in the case study of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. This seismic event was a 9.2 Magnitude Earthquake that struck on the Sundra Megathrust, on Sunday 26th December 2004 at 00:58 UTC, the earthquake triggered a tsunami that had waves that were ~20m high when they reached land. In total it affected 14 countries across the Indian Ocean but the worst affected was the closest, Northern Sumatra. The area of Northern Sumatra was the worst off due to it being a LEDC; this meant that it had a very basic infrastructure which could not withstand the impending tsunami. The total damaged caused was between 250,000-300,000 dead and ~2,000,000 homeless, a rapid spread of disease and widespread infrastructure damage. This case study supports the quote as it shows that the poorer countries aren’t prepared for the size and after affects of large seismic events.
The earthquake that struck Messina, Sicily on December 28th 1908, the quake was between a 7.1-7.5 magnitude on the Moment Magnitude Scale. Messina was a small town that had been used to smaller quakes in the past; this allowed them to be prepared for when one of the smaller quakes struck again, although this time the quake was much bigger than anticipated. The ground was felt shaking for 30-40 seconds and in the initial quake ~70,000 residents died, shortly after the initial quake a tsunami that had been triggered by the earthquake struck and bought the overall death toll up to 100,000-125,000. The earthquake and resulting tsunami wiped out around 91% of the towns buildings and news didn’t reach the main land until early the next day due to the power and communication systems being knocked out. During the following years the buildings were reconstructed using methods to prevent them collapsing if a quake was to strike again. This case study rejects the quote due to the fact that at the time Messina was well developed and had experienced quakes before but was not ready for anything bigger than what they had experienced before, so it shows that even the places that were well developed can still be severely affected.
On the 12th January 2010 a magnitude 7 earthquake struck near the capital of Haiti, Port au Prince. The total death toll 200,000+ and ~1,000,000 were left homeless, in total 3,500,000 people were affected. Haiti is a small island located East of Mexico and South East of Cuba, it is a very poor country and is only 145th in the Human Development Index, the reason the earthquake caused such devastation is that most people live on ~$2 a day and live in poorly constructed wooden housing which is easily susceptible to damage from an earthquake. Within the first year Oxfam moved in and set up camps and water sanitation…