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Page 1

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




The Venezuelan Mudslides
Natural factors:
Unusually high amount of rainfall


Human factors:
Corrupt politicians and bad planning from previous governments


Social impacts:
Many died
Many homeless
Communities and settlements destroyed


Economic impacts:
Buildings and infrastructure destroyed and need to be replaced
Oil leaks
Over US$3…

Page 2

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




The Aberfan Disaster, 1996
Causes:
Waste coal tip at steep angle
Prolonged heavy rain
Tip built on spring
Little vegetation on the tip to bind it
No management of the tip
It was assumed that any slide would be slow


Impacts:
147 killed (116 school…

Page 3

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




Barton-on-sea
In the 1970's the sea was eroding the cliffs at a rate of approximately 1m per year


Causes:
Rotational slip
Gulley's in the cliff face (incision in the cliff face)
The sea was eroding the bottom of the cliff by LSD moving from west…

Page 4

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




Swiss Alps, Jan 2007
Causes:
Heavy snowfall ­ 75cm
Mild winter
Trees had been removed to help skiers
Strong winds built up drifts
Skiers were going off piste
Reshaping of slopes for hotels


Impacts:
8 killed
Some buildings damaged
Damage to ski slopes
High cost…

Page 5

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




Coastal flooding case study: North Sea
Storm surge, 1st Feb 1953
Physical causes
Storm surge ­ strong winds from NE pushing water South
Intense depression so sea level rises (1cm per 1mb fall)
High spring tide
North Sea narrows to South
Heavy rain so rivers…

Page 6

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




Responses
Short term

Evacuation of people and livestock
Search and rescue
Property pumped out
Army called in to seal sea walls

Long term

Early warning system with sea level monitoring
Sea levels raised or managed retreat accepted
Areas allowed to flood to take pressure off…

Page 7

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




Chiswell
Why did Chiswell used to flood?




If the backwash is greater than the swash the beach is reduced so it is easier for the waves
to break over the crest of the beach
Percolation flooding is when the beach becomes completely saturated so the…

Page 8

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




The sheet steel piling (wave wall) has partly been pushed out of place in areas by hydraulic
pressure
The storm of 1989 had minimal impacts on Chiswell showing that the schemes were a success
The council has started to build new houses in the former…

Page 9

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




Bangladesh Flood, 1998
Background
Most of Bangladesh is river delta
Most of the country is low lying and flat
Over half the land is below 5m above sea level
LEDC
Cannot afford to invest in flood defences
Lack of doctors
Large population


Causes
Intense monsoon…

Page 10

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Earth Hazards ­ Case Studies




Forecasting ­ Predicting with measuring of rainfall, river flow and weather patterns




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