Geography Case Studies

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Fold Mountains- The Alps

The Alps-

Location: Eastern Europe (e.g. France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria)

Formation: Collision margin.               Population: 12 million.

Characteristics: Steep slopes, hairpin bends, through tunnels (St. Bennard), rock slides.


Farming: Goats are used on steep slopes. Produces cheese and milk. During the colder months animals travel down the Alps and are kept inside. This movement is called TRANSHUMERE. The animals are also fed FODDER, which is like grass.

HEP (Hydro-Electric Power): Barne supplies 60% of Switzerland. Used in steep slopes. Environmentally friendly.

Tourism: Created new villages e.g. Tignes. Ski lifts have ruined the landscape. 70% of tourism is from winter sports, such as skiing e.g. Chamonix. Summer activities also available, such as cycling. 100m visit annually.

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Volcanic Eruption- Monsterrat


Location: Caribbean, Soufriere Hills.                 Date: 1997                  Cause: Destructive margin.

Size: Large, 4-5million m3 of rocks and gas released.                   Capital: Plymouth.


Primary: 23 deaths. 50% left the island. 20+ villages destroyed. Plymouth covered in 12m of mud/ ash. Tourism & agriculture disrupted, schools, hospitals, airport and port were destroyed.

Secondary: fires. Volcanic ash improved soil (nutrients). Tourists stayed away (slowly increasing).


Short-term: £17 million in aid. Red Cross set up temporary schools, temp housing, warning sirens, evacuation boats from UK & USA.

Long-term: UK provided £41 million. UK government funded a 3 yr development plan. 3,000 people never returned. New aiport: St. Geralds, this cost £11 million. New capital: Salem. It took 10yrs to get out of eruption bands.

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Tsunami- Boxing Day

Boxing Day Tsunami-

Location: West Coast Indonesia       Date: 26/12/04       Cause: Earthquake from the Sumatran Trench measured 9.1. No warnings. 30m high waves.


Social: 230,000 deaths. 1.7million lost homes. 5-6million needed emergency aid. Fishermen lost livelihoods. affected other countries: Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka.

Environmental: Salt from the sea affected plant growth. Mangroves, coral reefs & sand dunes were destroyed.

Economic: Tourism industry affected. Infrastructure damaged.


Short-term: £450m in aid. Rescue soliders. Emergency supplies raised. Troops with bulldozers sent to get rid of debris & dead bodies. Built mass graves to reduce disease. Body bags sent. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY RESPONSE.

Long-term: Billions raised. Warning system developed. Disaster management plans (volunteers).

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LEDC Earthquake- Haiti


Location: Caribbean- East of Cuba.             Date: 12th Jan.               Population: sparse.            Size: 7.0.    Lasted: 45secs.                     Distance of Focus: 10km.

Cause: No drills. Destructive margin. Lack of emergency help. Poor building materials.


Primary: 200,000 deaths. 250,000 injuries. 1.5m homeless. Buildings collpased.

Secondary: 98% of rubble on roads. $100m from USA. Medical care. Fires. Difficult to distribute food/ supplies.


Short-term: Military rescuers. 115,000 tents set up. 810,000 placed in aid camps. Shortages of supplies.

Long-term: Help via the Red Cross. Temporary schools. 70% support for the jobless. governments donated money.

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MEDC Earthquake- Kobe


Location: Japan                  Date: 17/1/95                   Population: Dense                   Size: 7.2            Lasted: 20secs                  Distance of Focus: 20km.

Cause: Destructive margin. Had earthquake drills & safety kits. Buildings had: shock absorbers, deep foundations & counter weights.


Primary: 5,500 deaths. 40,000 injuries. 230,000 homeless. 180,000 homes destroyed. Buildings collapsed. 120-150 quays destroyed.

Secondary: Roads were gridlocked. 716 after shocks. Sevices e.g. Mitsibushi disrupted. Fires. Re-building & medical care.


Short-term: People were evacuated. Emergency rations given. Rescue teams searched for survivors for 10days.

long-term: Rebuilding programme. Jobs created in construction. People moved away permanently.

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River Long Profile- The Tee's.

The River Tee's-

Upper course: WATERFALLS: HYDRAULIC ACTION forces the waterfall backwards as it erodes the SOFT ROCK. This creates a PLUNGE POOL and a OVERHANG, which is created by the HARD ROCK (Whinestone).

Middle course: MEANDERS: Starts with a normal river. Sediment is DEPOSITED on the INSIDE BEND, which causes the river to ERODE the OUTER BEND of the river. This occurs as the outer bend carries the FASTER CURRENT. Over time this causes the river to curve (more than once), like a snake.

OXBOW LAKES: Created by a meander, which forms a 'SWANS NECK', as the river continues to erode and deposit. The deposition increases to close the neck so only the slow current travels around the neck and the fast current travels straight down. Generally a flood causes the 'neck' to be breached- causing a single straight channel and a seperate lake.

Lower course: FLOODPLAINS: Are flat areas of land which flood.                                                   LEVEE'S: Are formed by repeated flooding and are a natural embankment.                                  DELTA'S: Are low lying areas where a river meets the sea/ lake. ARCUTE delta's, such as the Nile, are wider. BRID'S FOOT delta's, such as the Mississippi, are longer and narrow.

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MEDC Flood- River Rhine

River Rhine-

Location: Eastern Europe                    Date: 1995


Natural: Heavy rain. Melting snow in the Alps. Groundwater stores too high.

Human: Clearing of vegetation. Channel straightened= speeds up flow. Farming technology. Embankment closes of floodplain


Social: Evacuations in Well. No schools open. Properties damaged.

Environmental: Crops ruined. Farm animal disrupted. Natural beauty disrupted (hard engineering).

Economic: lost income= stocks damaged. Expensive repairs (hard engineering).

Flood protection-

Soft: Flood warnings, Well.

Hard: Stone/ steel embankments- 3km. Retention basins, Strasborg. Artificial floodplains, Netherlands.

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LEDC Flood- Bangladesh


Location: India                         River: Ganges, Brahamaputra                             Date: 2004


Natural: River silt increase= a higher river. 80% is a floodplain. Himalayan snow melting= river dishcharge. Monsoon rainfall. 70% is less than 1m above sea level.

Human: Deforestation, fuel grazing, tourism. Irrigation= rocks sink, water is pumped out= large flooding area. 100,000 tube wells and 20,000 deep wells sunk into the delta.


Social: 760 dead. Diseases spread easily. 1 million suffered malnutrition and disease. 20m needed emergency aid.

Environmental: Land ruined. Cattle dying= infected water & disease

Economic: 800,000 cattle killed. Agriculture (rice & fish). $2.2 billion was cost of damage.

Flood Protection-

Soft: Crop irrigation in the Himalayas.

Hard: 7 large dams. 15 water storage. Flood retention basins. Embankments- 7,550km. Expensive.

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Managing UK's Water- Kielder Reservoir

Kielder Reservoir-

Location: North England, 40 miles South-west of Newcastles                        Built:  1975-1982                    Size: Largest in Europe. 1.2km long & 50m high.


Advantages: Provides HEP. Creates an income through tourism. Reliable water source. New habitats created. Unlikely to flood towns downstream.

Disadvantages: Costly. Destroyed habitats. Relocation of residents to new home. Road netowk affected.

Benefitted Areas: Newcastle, Tynside, Darlington, Durham, Sunderland.

Causes to build: Transferred by aqueduct. Support the rise in demnad for water.

Good location for a reservoir: High rainfall, few houses, impermeable rock, land not profitable, low temps, steep slopes.

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LEDC Tropical Storm- Cyclone Nargis

Cyclone Nargis-

Location: Myanmar, Bay of Bengal (Burma)               Date: 2/6/08               Winds: 215kph


Primary: 140,000 deaths. Cost $10billion. 1.5 million people affected. 2-3m homeless. 95% homes destroyed in Irrawaddy delta region.

Secondary: Disease spread. Emotionally devastating. 50% price increase on rice= hunger. No water, electricity.

Environmental: Burst sewage piped caused pollution. Salt water inudation of farmland.


Short-term: Identification and burial of the dead. Treating the injured. Providing safe water, food and medicines.

Long-term: Re-building homes, work place, services, transport networks. Reclaiming farm land from salty water.

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MEDC Tropical Storm- Hurrican Katrina

Hurricane Katrine-

Location: North America, Bahamas, Florida, New Orleans          Date: 2005                Winds: 280kph       Category: 4                Cause: 6m high storm surges, levee's failed= flooding, over 200mm rainfall

Warnings: 80% evacuated. Public transport closed down. Monitered and accurate predictions.


Primary: 1,200 drowned. 1,836 deaths. 100,000 left homeless. 3million without electricity. 80% of New Orleans flooded. Cost $89 billion.

Secondary: Looting. Oil facilities damaged. People stayed in the Superdome Stadium= unhygienic, supply shortages.

Environmental: Physical changes to the Mississippi delta. Food water severly polluted. Coastal habitats lost.


Short-term: Treating injured. Rescuing people from flood waters. Shelter in New Orleans. Providing supplies.

Long-term: Strengthening of levee system. Rebuilding of New Orleans.

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