Three things I learned about plate tectonics and hazards

https://www.opengeography.org/ch-9-living-with-disasters.html

1) I learned that the Red Sea was made because of the African plate splitting. I thought it was because there was a divergent boundary
between the African and Arabian plate, but I suppose it could be caused by both the divergent boundry and the African plate splitting. On that note, I also didn’t know that the lakes made from splitting plates are called “Linear Lakes.”

2) I learned that there is a difference between a hazard, a disaster and a catastrophe and that they are not synonyms.
-A hazard is a natural process that poses a threat to human life or property. The event itself is not a hazard; but becomes a hazard when it threatens human interests. So if an earthquake occured no where near human property and no lives were lost, it’s just that: an earthquake.
-A disaster is the effect the hazard has on society. “Disaster” is used when the interaction between humans and a natural process results in property damage, injuries, or loss of life. An earthquake results in some property damage, some lives lost, so that earthquake is now a disaster.
-A catastrophe is a massive disaster with significant deaths, injury, and economic loss. An earthquake totaled a city, millions of dollars of damage and hundreds of lives lost. It’s now a catastrophe.

3) I learned that natural disasters are getting worse and that is a combination of climate change and because of human growth. The example they give demonstrating the later, is the 7.0 Haitian earthquake in 2010 vs the 9.1 Japanese 2011 earthquake. The Haitian earthquake was a catastrophe (100,000-300,000 deaths) because of poor living conditions and building codes but while the Japanese earthquake was also a catastrophe (<16,000 deaths), but not on the same level as the Haitian earthquake. The example given in regards to the climate change is the desertification that caused the famine in Somolia from 2010-2012 that killed 260,000.

One thought on “Three things I learned about plate tectonics and hazards”

  1. This was a cool article! I am unfamiliar with hazard response language, and so the definitions for primary and secondary effects were super interesting. “Direct effects, also called primary effects, include destroyed infrastructure and buildings, injuries, separated families, and even death. Indirect, sometimes called secondary effects, are things like contaminated water, disease, and financial loss”.

    After reading this, I’m curious about the policy behind this in different areas of the world, and how different countries organize their emergency response tiers.

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