Edexcel GCSE Geography: Tectonic Landscapes

Everything you need to know for Edexcel GCSE Geography Specification A Unit 2: Tectonic Landscapes. Made using the specification and "tomorrow's geography" textbook.

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  • Created on: 13-01-13 13:37
Preview of Edexcel GCSE Geography: Tectonic Landscapes

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Tectonic Landscapes
4.1 Location and characteristics of tectonic activity
a) World distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes.
Tectonic Plates:
o North American
o South American
o Caribbean
o Nazca
o Juan de Fuca
o Cocos
o Pacific
o Scotia
o Antarctic
o African
o Arabian
o Eurasian
o Indo-Australian
o Philippine
Distribution of earthquakes
o Earthquakes occur in bands, one is around the edge of the
Pacific Ocean.
o Fewer in the middle of continents, except some in South Asia.
o Band up the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and South
o Not much more than 70 degrees north or less than 70
degrees south.
Distribution of active volcanoes
o Most volcanoes around the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
o Also many around the Mediterranean, Italy and Iceland.
o Not many in Eurasia, particularly Northern Eurasia.
o Not many in Northeast or North America, or far north or far
b) The reasons why earthquakes and volcanoes occur where they do,
through an explanation of plate tectonics and hotspots.
Convection currents
o The core of the earth is hotter on the inside than the outside,
due to radioactive decay and heat from the creation of the

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Heat is moved from the core to the upper mantle by
o Giant convection cells move around the lithospheric plates
above them by frictional drag.
o Plates move centimetres per year.
Two types of lithospheric plates:
o Oceanic crust
5-10km thick.
Denser than continental crust.
Constantly renewed and destroyed.
o Continental crust
25-100km thick.
Less dense than oceanic crust.
Permanent and cannot be destroyed.
o Magma from the mantle erupts from the crust.…read more

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In the case of two oceanic plates converging, the
denser plate is subducted.
o Collision zone (continent to continent)
Sediments build up in the sea, separating India from
100 million tears ago the Indian and Eurasian plates
started to converge.
The two continental plates are about the same density,
so little, if any, subduction occurs.
As the plates collided, the sediments are folded,
squeezed and uplifted to form the Himalayas.
The Indian plate is still crashing into the Eurasian
plate at 5cm per year.…read more

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Can be used to measure earthquake vibrations
anywhere (if seismometer in place).
Ranges from 1 to 10.
A linear scale.
Key terms
o Focus
The point underground where the earthquake starts ­
it is here where the greatest release of energy occurs.
o Epicentre
This is the point on the surface directly above the
focus of an earthquake ­ the most damage often
occurs here.
4.…read more

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Social reasons
Lack of choice (either because of poverty or because
most of their country is tectonically active, e.g. Japan)
Technology ­ increased confidence due to earthquake
proof buildings and disaster management plans in
Some never having experienced an earthquake in their
lifetime think the chances of them being affected are
o Economic reasons
Popular tourist areas so provide many jobs for locals.
Miners consider the risk acceptable as they make a
good living from mining.…read more

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The North Anatolian Fault slipped between 2 and 5 metres.
o The Arabian plate is pushing the Turkish micro plate
westwards alongside the Eurasian plate and the African plate.
o The North Anatolian Fault is a slipping zone. Izmit is on this
fault line.
o Effects on people
Short term
18,000 people died.
300,000 left homeless.
Parts of the motorway between Ankara and
Istanbul buckled.
In Yalova alone 65,000 buildings were
A tsunami struck coastal areas as high as 6m,
drowning tourists.…read more

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Volcanic eruptions
o Prediction
Look for magmatic quakes (made as magma rises) ­
measured by seismometers.
Look for changes in gas composition ­ sulphur and
carbon dioxide.
Look for changes in land height, such as bulging ­ tilt
meters, satellite relay, geostationary measuring
Phreatic eruption ­ steam explosion whereby ash is
blown into the air by steam.
Acidification of water ­ measure pH.
Look at previous eruptions, past lava flows, lahars
(mud flow caused by melting ice) etc.…read more

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Well trained emergency services
Planning restrictions (e.g. not building on fault line
Earthquake proof building design
Computer controlled counter weights on roof to
counteract shock waves.
Rubber shock absorbers between foundations
and building.
Automatic shut off switches for electricity and
gas etc.
Reinforced lift shafts with tensioned cables.
Identification number visible for helicopters
assessing damage after an earthquake.
Birdcage interlocking steel frame.
Reinforced latticework foundations deep in
Open areas where people can assemble if
evacuated.…read more


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