GPC Essay

Submitted By KabobPants
Words: 617
Pages: 3

Discuss the reasons New Zealand is vulnerable to a wide range of natural hazards. Use case studies to show how people can be affected by disasters in New Zealand. There are two prime sources of danger in New Zealand ­ tectonic and weather related. New Zealand sits directly on the middle of the Indo­Australian plate ­ a rather stable plate ­ and the Pacific plate ­ a very unstable plate. It receives moist airmass that bring heavy rains and strong winds from the westerly wind belts and has plenty of high mountains, such as the Southern Alps that can possess potential avalanches and landslides. All of these attributes make New Zealand vulnerable to a wide range of natural hazards such as heavy rainfall ­ which leads to flooding, earthquakes, droughts, landslides, cyclones, tsunamis and many more. People live and work in places that have a risk of danger from extreme natural events and we lower the risks by being prepared and having prevention methods. Earth’s crust is made of plates. Heat energy and convection currents within the earth cause the plates to constantly move. Subduction zones are where two plates collide, the heavier plate subducts into the mantle and the friction caused gives rise to volcanoes. Volcanoes create many hazards for people such as lava flows, ash falls, debris avalanches and lahars ­ a combination of an avalanche and landslide. Earthquakes occur when two plates are rubbing against each other. Since tectonic plates are rugged with rocks, when they try to rub against each other but they get stuck. When these rocks break, then the earthquake occurs. All of these natural hazards occur on plate boundaries, exactly where New Zealand lies. In 1931, the deadliest earthquake struck Hawke’s Bay and affected people all the way in Napier and
Hastings. With a magnitude of 7.8, the earthquake killed at least 256 people and injured thousands.
Fires broke out minutes after the earthquake and the local landscape changed dramatically. This is an example of how destructive tectonic plates can be, proving that New Zealand is very vulnerable to these natural hazards. But New Zealand is not only vulnerable to tectonic hazards, there are also weather related hazards.
Being in the westerly wind belt means that New Zealand receives strong winds and heavy rains.
Rapid runoff is when there is too much rain for the earth to absorb, which leads to flooding, New