Case Studies Natural Hazards GCSE (OCR B)

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Natural Hazards
Japan Earthquake case study (MEDC)
Location of Japan: - Japan is situated in the Northern hemisphere, In Asia, East of China, around the ring of fire.
Location of the Earthquake: Nearest city to the epicenter was Sendai
When? 11th March 2011
Why? Japan is located on the east edge of the Eurasian Plate.
The Pacific Plate subducts (sinks under) the Eurasian Plate.
This plate margin is "destructive" ­ it is not a smooth process, friction is present and the plates stick. When the
plates stick, tension builds up.
Magnitude: 9.0 on the Richter scale
Epicenter: 130km East of Sendai
Focus: 32km below sea level
Primary Impacts
27,000 people dead
Many injured
4 trains swept away from their tracks
A ship carrying 100 people was washed away
A dam in the North East of Fukushima prefecture burst its banks ( sweeping away many more homes)
Power lines, gas and water services were severely disrupted
Telephone and mobile communications made impossible in many areas.
Secondary Impacts
Nearly half a million people homeless
Disruption to transport links meant that it was difficult rescue teams and aid to reach places.
Damage to underground gas pipelines led to fires which spread quickly
Oil refineries were set ablaze
Diseases such as cholera due to lack of clean water
Tsunami- 30km above sea level
Radioactive leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant-radioactive material escaped
contaminating a large area around the plant- including the sea, where levels of radioactivity were
recorded up to 4,000 times higher than usual. The impact of this could last for a long time.
Cost of repair and rebuild estimated cost of £185billion
The day after the disaster over 6% was wiped of the value of shares on the Japanese stock exchange-
equivalent to a loss of £90 billion.
Short Term relief long term relief
Within minutes of the tsunami, Japan alerted its Earthquake early warning systems.
emergency response teams. Huge sea walls and tsunami floodgates built
100,000 people began a the disaster relief mission Better evacuation
Japanese red cross- 230 emergency teams Building construction- earthquake proof buildings and
Countries including UK sent teams to help skyscrapers.
USA joined forces with japan to search for bodies Roads constructed to reduce overall damage.
Shelters set up
NGO's sent aid- Shelter aid sent 1,500 boxes containing a
tent, sleeping bag and tools

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Natural Hazards
Haiti Earthquake case study (LEDC)
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti's GDP per person is only US$660
Location of Haiti: - Haiti is situated in the Western hemisphere, North of Venezuela, East of the North Atlantic
Sea, South of the Bahamas
Location of the Earthquake:
When? 12th January 2011
Why? Haiti lies close to the boundary of two tectonic plates.…read more

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Natural Hazards
Location of Iceland: -
Location of the Volcano: Eyjafjallajokull is the name of the volcano that erupted. It's situated in Southern Iceland
about 160km from the capital Reykjavik.
When? 15th April 2010
Why? Eyjafjallajokull lies on a constructive plate boundary known as the mid-Atlantic ridge. Between two
tectonic plates: The North American plate and the Eurasian plate. It has been volcanically active in the past
several years but had not erupted since 1823.…read more

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Natural Hazards
Hurricane Katrina- New Orleans case study (MEDC)…read more

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Natural Hazards
It was the third strongest recorded hurricane ever to make landfall on the USA, and the devastation it wrecked
was unbelievable.
Location New Orleans: - Western Hemisphere, South East USA, New Orleans, coast of Louisiana.
Location of the Hurricane: Western Hemisphere, USA, New Orleans, coast of Louisiana.
When? 29th August 2005 at 6:10am
Why? Hurricane Katrina happened because a hurricane formed in the Bahamas and moved towards land in
Florida. As it moved across warmer waters it gained strength.…read more

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Natural Hazards
Location: - Eastern Hemisphere, Irrawaddy Delta Burma.
When? 2nd May 2008
Cost of Damage: around $4billion
Primary Impacts
More than 140,000 people were killed
450,000 houses were destroyed
1,700 schools destroyed
Crops were lost- over 40% of food stores were destroyed.
Costal habitats such as mangroves were destroyed.
Secondary Impacts
2-3 million people were left homeless
Millions lost their livelihoods
Over 70% of households didn't have access to clean water.…read more

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Natural Hazards
In 2007 Australia was in grip of the worst drought on record. The drought began in 2002 and the worst affected
area was the Murray- Darling Basin (also known as Australia's food bowl)
Location: - Eastern Hemisphere, South East Australia, Murray darling basin, extending from Queensland to South
When? 2002-??
Why? Australia's rainfall pattern is one of the most variable in the world, due to its size, location, geography
climatic range and shifts in global weather patterns.
Insufficient amount of rainfall.…read more

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Natural Hazards
When? 1960's and lasted until the early 1980's- the worst drought of the 20th century.
A massive drought that struck parts of Northern Africa in the 1970s and 80s may have been the result of
a natural climate cycle.
Up to now, many scientists thought the drought in the Sahel zone was caused by humans over-using
natural resources in the region.…read more


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