Geography Case Studies

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Mt St Helens Case Study

18th May 1980

Located in the Rockies of North West America, a set of fold mountains

Summit before the eruption: 2950m

Summit after the eruption: 2560m

On a destructive plate boundary - Oceanic Juan de Fuca and Continental North American plate

63 people died, mainly from poisonous gas

Volcano erupted in an unexpected direction, making the pre-decided safety boundary ineffective on the northern side

Landscape and wildlife destroyed - 10 million trees replanted

Pyroclastic flows of temperatures over 400°C

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Kobe Earthquake

Kobe, Japan

5.46 am on the 17th January 1995

Philippines plate moves towards the Eurasian

7.2 on Richter Scale lasting 20 seconds

6434 people died, 40,000 were injured and 300,000 were left homeless

Infastructure destroyed (gas pipes, motorways and railways)

2 million homes left without water and electricity for 10 days

Tented areas set up whilst the emergency services took action

Hospitals inundated - operations were being done in corridors

Eventually, buildings were rebuilt with earthquake precautions put in place (steel frames and rubber shock absobers)

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Bam Earthquake

Bam, Iran

5.26am on the 26th December 2003

Arabian and Asian plates shifted together

Lasted for seconds only but hit 6.3 - 6.5 on the Richter scale

Approximately 40,000 dead

Thousands left left homeless and injured

Poorly constructed buildings added to the death toll when heavy roofs fell quickly

Relief crews were sent from Britain

People searched for friends and relatives as well as food and shelter

Emergency services were overwhelmed and the airport became a temporary hospital

Fighting over food took place whilst donations were made my many MEDCs

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Indian Ocean Tsunami

8.00am local time on the 26th December 2004

Wave lasted for 3 hours

Plants up-rooted, mud and silt left everywhere

Hotels were wrecked, loose items that were picked up caused injuries, hospitals swamped and many drowned

People saught higher ground and clung for survival

Many were eventually evacuated, medicine was shipped in and families were re-united

Disease spread as the dirty water caused infections and a lack of food and water made a huge impact on the thousands of people (local and tourists)

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The Alps

Location: Central Europe

Formation: 30 million years ago, collision between the African and Eurasian Plates

Tallest peak: Mont Blanc at 4810m on the Italian/French border

Population: 12 million people

Farming: Steep upland areas used to farm goats,sunnier slopes are terraced for vineyards

Hydro-Electric Power: Narrow valleys are dammed to generate HEP - Switzerland gets 60% of its power from HEP stations in the Alps. 

Tourism: 100 million tourists visit per year, 70% for winter sports. In order to cope, new villages, ski lifts, cable cars and restaurants were built. 

Mining: Salt, gold, sliver and copper mining has decreased recently due to cheaper sources elsewhere

Forestry: Scots pine is planted all over the Alps because it is resiliant to the goats. Trees are logged to make furniture

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China One Child Policy

Anti-natal policy introduced in 1979

Families were told by the factory bosses when they were allowed to try for their child

Workers acted as spies, as did the "nanny police"

"Model workers" given rewards, those who broke the rules faced severe economic punishments

Abortions took place as late as 9 months

As boys favoured as girls are more expensive, China now faces a massive gender imbalance, with many men left un-married

400 million fewer people have been born

Young couples are allowed a second child if they are both an only child

Increasing wealth means that more people can afford to break the rules

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Kerala Anti-natal Policy

Kerala, India needed more farming space and to improve the hygiene in the area

More health clinics were built so that big families weren't needed

Girls given rights to education

Free contraception advice

Maternity leave was allowed for the first 2 children only

Extra retirement benefits for smaller familes

Every family given 8 hectares of land so that large families had a disadvantage

Average birth rate became 2 per family

85% of Kerala is now literate

Overall successful and less problematic than China

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Hurricane Katrina

Monday 29th August 2004, New Orleans

Category 4 hurricane

233 km/hr winds

Entire neighbourhoods submerged

Thousands drowned, but 10,000 were airlifted to safety

80% of the city flooded, 6m underwater in places

£5.7 billion was spent on emergency aid

Looting occurred, so police troups were called in

Disease spread due to dirty water

An area the size of the UK was effected

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Boscastle Flood

Monday 16th August 2004

200m of rain fell in twenty four hours, with 60mm falling within just two

Situated on the confluence of three rivers (Valency, Jordan and Paradise) which all overflowed because of the rapid rainfall

Homes, businesses and cars belonging to more than 1000 people were picked up and washed away

58 buildings were flooded along with 25 ruined business properties

Many were airlifted to safety, no fatalites occurred

Lots of re-building took place which cost at least £15 million

Improved flood defences cost £4.5 million

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Cyclone Sidr

November 15th 2007

Category 5 storm caused around 3500 deaths

$1.7 US dollars worth of damage

Roads and railways blocked, but many locals refused to leaved their homes and livestock

People left without food and water, 95% of the rice crop was destroyed

500,000 homes destroyed

Elephants were used to move the debris in rural areas

Millions are now at risk to water-bourne diseases

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