Restless Earth Case Studies

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The Alps

The Alps are fold mountains that span across Europe, going through countries including France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

Problems with surviving in this environment include:

  • Relief - High mountains and steep slopes means little flat land
  • Climate - Temperature drops one degree per one hundred metres
  • Soils - Stoney, thin and infertile
  • Accessability - Traveling between valleys is tricky!

Humans have adapted their lifestyles in orderto thrive in this environment:

  • Summer tourism is based in the beautiful mountain scenery
  • Winter tourism is based on the ski slopes
  • The steep valleys are used for HEP
  • Terracing is a farming technique where steps are cut out of the mountain to make room for my livestock and crops. They also hold more water creating more fertile soil.

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Soufriere Hills Volcano

The Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted in 1995 and 1997. It is located on the Montserrate island in the Caribbean on a destructive margin. 

Effects (Primary, Secondary)

  • Twenty people killed
  • Two thirds of homes and farmland destroyed
  • 5000 people evacuated
  • Rebuilding costs
  • Tourist industry disrupted 


  • Evacuation
  • Emergency help, emergency services and the army called in
  • UK aid to help rebuild infrastructure
  • Volcano observatory built
  • Attempts to reattract tourists
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2004 Boxing Day Tsunami

The Asian 2004 Tsunami affected a huge number of countries, from Sri Lanka to India, from Somalia to Sumatra. 


  • Over 220,000 killed (including 166,000 from Indonesia)
  • Over 2,000,000 displaced
  • Over 500,000 homes destroyed 
  • Massive economic impact
  • Hospitals, such as those in Sumatra, tried to react but quickly became overloaded. Bodies were left piled up in hospital corridors until mass graves had been dug. 


  • Disasters Emergency Committee spent over £40,000,000 on rebuilding projects
  • Internationally, over US$14 billion was donated
  • An early warning system was put in place
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Kobe, Japanese Earthquake, 1995

On 17th January 1995, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Kobe. This was due to a movement in the Eurasian, Pacific and Philippines plate.


  • 350,000 injured
  • Buildings and bridges collapsed despite the 'earthquake proof' design
  • Buildings destroyed by fire from gass leaks
  • 316,000 left homeless


  • People were evacuated
  • Emergency rations dispatched
  • Rescue teams searched for ten days
  • Many moved away out of fear
  • Jobs were created because of amount of rebuilding needed.
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Kashmir, Pakistan, 2005

One 8th October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale caused havoc in Pakistan. This was as a result of the Eurasian and the Indian plates colliding.


  • Buildings collapsed
  • 79,000 people killed
  • Landlsides and huge cracks opened in the ground
  • Broken sewage pipes contaminated water supplies
  • People died of cold during the follwoing harsh winter


  • The army and emergency services arrived to help search and rescue
  • Tents were given out by charities
  • Aid workers arrived to treat the injured
  • Buildings and regulations were changed
  • Schools and hospitals were rebuilt
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