Factors affecting the impact of an earthquake

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Earth hazards revision
Factors affecting the impact of an earthquake
Magnitude: greater than 5 can have a significant impact. As the magnitude
increases the frequency decreases.
Depth of focus: shallow earthquakes are more destructive than deeper
earthquakes as the further the seismic waves have to travel the more of
their energy is lost. Shallow earthquakes occur at a depth of less than
Distance from epicentre: further away an area is from the epicentre the
less damage it will experience as the seismic waves energy will be weaker.
Population density: higher population density can lead to more deaths or
Degree of urbanisation: more buildings increases number of deaths
Local ground conditions and variability: buildings constructed on reclaimed
land from the sea or lakes are more vulnerable to liquefaction whereas
buildings on solid foundations have less damage.
Time of day: greatest impact on lives occurs at rush hour in major cities as
there are more people travelling; therefore the impact is less at night.
Day of week: weekend earthquakes are less damaging as people aren't as
Time of year: winter earthquakes are more damaging as people who lack
shelter suffer more from exposure.
Degree of earthquake proof design: countries with buildings of better
quality or those built to withstand earthquakes have less deaths
Degree of preparedness of community: those that know what to do in an
earthquake and have procedures in place to deal with aftermath will have
fewer deaths
Proximity to coast: areas at risk of earthquakes that are located on the
coast are at a higher risk from tsunamis
Past history of seismic events: regions that have had more seismic activity
are more likely to be prepared for an earthquake.


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