A2 Geography case studies

A2 case studies

Mount Etna, Siciliy

Mount Etna is located in Siciliy, an M.E.D.C. Since 2001 it has erupted every year. Mount Etna is a decade volcano, this means that it deserves particular study due to a history of destructive eruptions nearby populated areas). As a result Mount Etna is a well monitored and actively managed volcano.

Nature of the eruption:  Mount Etna is a composite volcano that typically erupts basaltic lava. Basaltic lava has low viscosity and consequently travels significant distances.

Impact of the eruption:  During the 2002 eruptions the tourist station at Piano Provenzana and part of the tourist station around Rifugio Sapienza were destroyed. The airport located in Sicily's second city, Catania, was forced to close. The tourist industry was further damaged because visitors decided to stay away due to safety concerns. There was an estimated 77 deaths.

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Management and responses: The Italian government pledged immediate financial assistance of more than $8 million and tax breaks for villagers. None of the towns of Etna were damaged. The Italian army used heavy earth moving equipment to block and divert the lava flows.

Mount Etna has been monitored by the I.N.G.V for 20 years with a permanent network of remote sensors. Geochemical monitoring programmes test gas/fluid emissions to help predict and warn of dangerous gas emissions

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Chaiten, Chile.

On Friday the 2nd of May 2008 Chaiten volcano in the south east of Chile erupted. The volcano is situated above a subduction zone where the Pacific Ocean plate is being subducted under the South American continental plate. Chile is an L.E.D.C country.

Nature of the eruption: Lava was rhyolitic in nature. Ash fell and blocked the roads. The ertriggered thunderstorms and a polar storm. The heavyuption also

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Impact of the eruption:

  • Lahars cut communications in some areas and made access difficult.
  • Ash falls blocked rives and contaminated ground water supplies.
  • 90% of the town of Chaiten flooded.
  • Only one death.
  •    Some farm animals were killed by the suffocating ash.
  • 80-90% of Chaiten was damaged and 20-30% completely destroyed.
  •   Regional airports occasionally closed due to ash.
  • Several dozen international flights were cancelled due to the eruption e.g. Argentina.
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Management: The length of time it had lain dormant meant that it was not actively monitored. The remote location of Chaiten and the relatively low population density meant that management was not priority. The immediate response was to evacuate the more than 4,000 people from the town of Chaiten. Emergency measures were put in place, such as, residents were told not to drink water as the reservoirs were covered in a layer of ash. The Chilean government also ordered a 50 km exclusion zone around the town. Chilean officials distributed fresh water and protective masks. The government issues a monthly disaster stipend of the equivalent of between $1,200 to $2,200 per month per family. The key development of this eruption was the involvement of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) to aid monitoring and prediction of subsequent eruptions

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Boxing Day Tsunami

On the 26th of December 2004 there was an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 which triggered a Tsunami. The earthquake was caused when the Australian plate was subducted under the Burma plate. The epicentre was approximately 160km offshore in the Indian Ocean, and the focus was 30km below sea level. The sea floor overlying the thrust fault was uplifted, displacing several billion tonnes of seawater which generated waves.

Impact of the Tsunami: A number of countries experienced damage, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Kenya and South Africa. 229,866 people were lost, including 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing. Drinking and water supplies were contaminated. Tourism was hit badly because people avoided the area. Ecosystems were damaged such as mangroves, coral reefs, forests and coastal wetlands. In Sri Lanka more than 60% of fishing fleet and industrial infrastructure were destroyed in its coastal regions, this fishing industry was a major economic activity in Sri Lanka.

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Management and responses: The Indian Ocean did not have any tsunami warning systems. The main response was to deal with the aftermath. Humanitarian and government agencies provided sanitation facilities and fresh drink water to contain the spread of diseases such as cholera. The rapid burning and burial of bodies also helped to reduce the spread of diseases. The World Food Programme provided food aid to more than 1.3 million people affected by the tsunami. $7 billion was promised in aid for damaged regions and charities were given considerable donations from the public, for example, the British public gave £330 million.

One outcome of the 2004 Tsunami was the beginning of greater international cooperation to find a way to help predict similar events in the region - The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System.

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The Gujarat earthquake

The Gujarat earthquake (L.E.D.C) measured 7.9 on the Richter scale.

Impact of the earthquake:

  • Shockwaves were experienced over the border of Pakistan.
  • Buildings were unable to withstand tremors.
  • Death toll was just under 20,000.
  •  More than 160,000 people were seriously injured.
  • Over 1 million became homeless.
  • Approximately 345,000 dwellings were destroyed.
  • In Bhuj all 4 hospitals were destroyed.
  • Overall cost of the earthquake was estimated at $4-5 billion.
  • Loss of 20,000 cattle, this was an enormous impact because Gujarat is dependent upon agriculture.
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Management and responses: The Indian government sent 5,000 troops into the area along with 40 military aircraft and 3 naval vessels. (Two of which acted as floating hospitals). Military personnel transported medical aid, food, tents, and communication equipment by air to the worst affected areas. Rescue teams were sent from all over the world in an attempt to save people trapped beneath the falling buildings. Disinfectant was sprayed on the collapsed buildings to prevent the spread of disease from rotting bodies.

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Christchurch (2011)

On the 22nd of February 2011 Christchurch in New Zealand (M.E.D.C) suffered an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3.

Effects: 181 people were killed. Around 2,500 people were injured. Approximately 2,000 people were displaced. 80% of the city had no electricity. Roads and bridges were severely damaged. Recovery and reconstruction costs are expected to cost at least NZ $15 billion. All airports in the country were shut down and flights immediately put on hold after the earthquake. Water supplies and sewage disposal was badly disrupted. About 10,000 houses and nearly 1,000 commercial buildings were demolished.

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European Union

After World War 2 Europe were determined to prevent more wars. The six founders were Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. There are now 27 members.

Common agriculture policy: Aims to increase agricultural production by providing certainty in food supplies. The common agriculture policy has led to overproduction and also encourages farmers to use environmentally unfriendly intensive farming techniques.

Single Market: Free circulation of goods, capital, people and services.

Monetary Union: Single market by easing travel of citizens and goods and eliminating exchange rate problems. A common currency can lead to economic fluctuations in one country spreading to others within the E.U.

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Pssammosere succession

This is succession on sand dunes.

Foredunes: Plants are very tolerant of salty conditions, for example, sea couch grass and glasswort.

Mobile dunes: Mainly Marram grass. Marram grass has deep roots which help bind the sand together and stabilise the dune. Marram grass changes the conditions slightly so that other plant species can develop.

Fixed dunes: The soil starts to improve as humus from decaying plants is added. Other plants colonise the soil and outcompete the marram grasses, for example, creeping fescue, sea spurge and low shrubs such as heather.

Dune Heathlands: Further addition of humus means that soils become acidic. Heathland plants colonise, these include heather, gorse, bracken, holly and buckthorn. If left free from human interference a climax community will develop. This climax community is often oak woodland.

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Local conflict over Heathrow Airport

The government have proposed to expand Heathrow Airport with a 2,300m third runway and a 6th terminal. 700 properties will be bulldozed, including the destruction of the village Sipson. There is major opposition from residents, environmental groups and councils.


  • Residents in west London fear the expansion will cause more aircraft noise.
  •  Environmentalists worry because the expansion will increase carbon emissions.
  • Economists feel that an expansion is needed for Heathrow to maintain its European Hub Airport status. It will ensure that international firms keep coming to Britain for business.
  • Those who support the expansion claim that it will create 65,000 jobs and the British Airways claim that the new aircrafts will emit 55% less carbon dioxide than planes did in 2000.
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Local conflict over housing development in Stevena

More affordable housing is needed in Stevenage due to the growing population. The Stevenage West Project proposes that the housing development should occur within the greenbelt but this has caused much opposition from the locals and environmentalists.

Attitudes: Many believe that there is enough land for housing developments elsewhere. The construction of houses will provide job opportunities to many. Those who own the land will gain large sums of money if they sell to housing developments. Those who are in need of cheaper housing will be in support of the development.

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Orange Revolution

The Orange Revolution was a series of protests and political events which took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005. The Orange Revolution followed the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election which was compromised by massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud. Kiev, the Ukrainian capital was the focal point of the movement. Results of the run-off vote between leading candidates Viktor Yushchenko and Vikto Yanukovych had been rigged by the authorities in favour of Viktor Yanukvoych. The nationwide protests succeeded and a re-vote was ordered by the Ukraine’s Supreme Court. Yushchenko was declared the official winner and the Orange Revolution came to an end.

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Sustainable tourism/development: Kasbah du Toubkal

The Kasbah du Toubkal is located in the High Atlas Mountains.

McHugo brought the property and opened Kasbah du Toubkai for paying guests.

Village labourers used traditional building techniques and local materials in its construction. There are 8 rooms with en suite bathrooms, a three bedroom family house and separate dormitory accommodation with a conference centre for study groups.

All staff are from the local community. Meat and vegetables are brought locally, as are most services.

To ensure close links with the local community an association was set up which created and managed: a 4 by 4 ambulance, a rubbish clearance and disposal, a community bath house, accommodation in Asni (a nearby town) for school children to attend school, and the provision of improved safe water to outlying villages.

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Millenium development goals

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

4. Reduce child mortality.

5. Improve maternal health.

6. Combat HIV/AID, malaria and other diseases.

7. Ensure environmental sustainability.

8. Develop a global partnership for development

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Conflict in Darfur region of Sudan

Social impacts: Janjaweed have slaughtered men, ***** women and stole from the villages. Women have been abducted and held as sex slaves. 2 million people have fled their homes. 200,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring country Chad. Many thousands have been killed. People live in temporary camps where they are intimidated by the Janjaweed. Children grow up surrounded by conflict and therefore will be psychologically affected. They are also without education. There is great risk of starvation and spread of disease.

Economic impacts: The drought combined with a reduction in the number of active farmers means a poor harvest and a heavy dependence on food aid. Farm crops would have also been destroyed when the Janjaweed burnt hundreds of villages. People are living in temporary camps, this means that they are unemployed and children are not educated. Tourism may be damaged because people will be worried about the conflict going on. The region is dependent on aid. The president has been charged with genocide and war crimes.

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Separatism in Baulkans

Nature: Yugoslavia was a state formed at the end of world war 1 and has been ruled by communism since the end of world war 2. It is made up of six separate republics each of different ethnic groups.

Reasons: Yugoslavia was ruled by Marshall Tito from 1945 to 1980, after his death the forces holding the country together collapsed and separatist pressures emerged. The Serbs were feared by smaller ethnic groups because they believed that they would try to dominate Yugoslavia by taking procession of land that had any population of Serbs. The Serbs have close links with Russia, whereas the Slovenes and Croats have close links with Germany. The Muslims have links with Bosnia. The Kosovo had close links with Albania. The small states began to realise that they would be better off separate. Lastly, during the Second World War genocide was carried out by the Croats on the Serbs and anyone who resisted. This was still in memory.

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Consequences: In 1991 Croatia and Slovenia declared independence, 6 or 7 countries have split since then. Ethnic cleansing took place to expel those of different ethnic groups. The worst fighting occurred in Bosnia where minority groups of Serbs and Croats to break away but later they wanted to claim more territory. Kosovo tried to become independent from Serbia and the Serbs reacted using military force. Nato bombs led by the US bombed Serbia until they withdrew their forces. Consequently Serbia's economy has been damaged by the war. Bosnia is not a federation of two republics, the Republic of Serbskja and Bosnia, and Bosnia and herzogovina.

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Invasive plant specie: Oxford Ragwort

Oxford Ragwort is native to mountainous, rocky or volcanic areas.

It was introduced from Sicily in 1700 for the Duchess of Beauforts garden.

It escaped into the wild around 1720 and grew in the stonework of Oxford colleges and stone walls around the city of Oxford.

Oxford became connected to the railway system in the mid 1800's and the plant gained a new habitat in railway lines, generally spreading via the railway to other parts of the country.

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Troopers Hill

A local nature reserve in Bristol. It was previously used for chemical works, mining and industrial works. In the 18th century a copper smelting industry was established and this may have affected Troopers Hill's natural environment. Troopers hill is home to many rare species. The local nature reserve aims to conserve the environment and recreational uses. The area has poor soils and an uneven and steep landscape. The heath is managed to prevent it turning into woodland. Non-native species are removed when young to prevent competition with the current species. All seedling trees are removed from areas of heath and grassland. Trees are assessed ever 2 years as risk assessment.

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Transnational Corporation: Coca Cola

Coca Cola is sold in over 200 countries.

The company operates in LEDC's.

Coke prohibits the use of all forms of forced labour.

Coke respects their employees’ right to join, form, or not join a labour union without fear/intimidation.

Coke provides a safe, healthy workplace and is committed to maintain a workplace free from violence.

Coke prohibits the hiring of individuals under the age of 18 for hazardous work.

Coke prohibits child labour.

Coke operates in full compliance with applicable wage, work hours, overtime and benefits laws.

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Wonderful! Thank you!

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