Geography Key Themes Case Studies

  • Created by: TheBear27
  • Created on: 11-06-13 13:58

Flood - MEDC - Boscastle UK - 16th Aug. 2004


  • Boscastle in small catchment area - 23 square km.  Impermeable upland area - Bodmin Moor. Steep sided valleys.  High rainfall levels = high levels of surface run-off, reaches river quickly = increased risk of flash flooding.
  • Had been a wet summer - very saturated ground.  Thundery clouds developed.  Remnants of Hurricane Alex moved across the Atlantic.  Clouds remained over north Cornwall due to converging winds = High levels of rainfall (1.4mil mm in 2hrs).
  • Boscastle at a confluence of 3 rivers - Jordan, Valency and Paradise.  A large quantity of water all arrived within a short space of time causing the rivers to overflow.
  • The flooding coincided with the high tide at the mouth, meaning that water couldn't leave the valley very quickly.
  • Construction of buildings and bridges along the river bank mant that any material was trapped, creating a dam-like effect - forced water to go around the blockages, destroying homes + businesses.
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Flood - MEDC - Boscastle UK - 16th Aug. 2004


  • 25 business properties destroyed.
  • 50 buildings flood damaged.
  • 4 foot bridges washed away.
  • Visitor centre destroyed.
  • Income from tourism was lost. This had an impact on livelihoods and the local economy.
  • Pavements and gardens damaged by weight of the floodwater.
  • Stress and anxiety of local people.
  • Insurance companies had to pay out an estimated £20 million to repair damaged property.
  • No lives were lost, partly due to the rapid response of the emergency services.
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Flood - MEDC - Boscastle UK - 16th Aug. 2004


  • River widened in multiple places - to increase the capacity of the river channel.
  • River bed lowered - to increase the capacity of the river channel.
  • Dead vegetation removed from river banks - to stop a bulid up of material in the event of a future flood.
  • New flood defence walls - to protect properties and businesses from damage in the event of a future flood.
  • Trash screens built - to prevent rubbish from entering the river.
  • Weak low bridges replaced with stronger, higher ones - to stop a bulid up of material in the event of a future flood and less likely to be washed away.
  • Increased drainage outfalls - to reduce the amount of surface run-off in the village.
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Flood - LEDC - Bangladesh


  • Annual heavy monsoon rains - ground is saturated for long periods each year.
  • Big flood plains (80% of country) - much of land in lower course and prone to flooding from the rivers.
  • Snow-melt in warmer months adds to water volume in rivers - rivers can't cope with high volumes so flood.
  • Deforestation in Himalayas - decreases interception, increases surface run-off, water gets to rivers quickly.
  • Surface run-off = large amounts of soil erosion and more silt, raising river beds by up to 5cm/year.
  • Much of country (70%) less than 1m above sea level, little places for water to drain to.
  • Many river confluences - lots of water in small river channels.
  • Cyclones create storm surges which affects coastal areas.
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Flood - LEDC - Bangladesh - 1998 Flood

1998 Flood + Impacts:

  • Rains unusually heavy, water levels record high - rivers couldn't cope with high volumes of water so flooded.
  • Floods covered nearly 60% of country - all main river channels flooded.
  • Hundreds killed, millions made homeless - lead to stress of people in Bangladesh and pressure on government to find out causes.
  • Agricultural land and crops were lost or contaminated with polluted water - major financial impacts on the agricultural communities.
  • Over 900 bridges and 15,000km of roads destroyed - very difficult to get aid to those in need.
  • An investigation followed the flood to try and determine the causes of the flood.
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Flood - LEDC - Bangladesh


  • The Preparedness Programme:
    • Cluster villages - villages raised 2m above water level, housing 25-30 families.
    • Raised homestead - raising indivdual homes 2m above water level on earth banks, planted with grass to prevent erosion
    • Flood shelter - large areas of raised land where people can bring livestock, with space for 100 families. Includes community room + toilets.
    • Rescue boats - located near areas at greatest risk of flooding and near flood shelters.
    • Radios - given to each preparedness comittee to issue flood warnings and allow communication with rescue workers.
  • Dhaka flood protection project:
    • Earth embankments - to hold back rising water.
    • Slope protection - to reduce erosion of embankments.
    • Drains - storm drains linked back to rivers.
    • Sluice gates - able to close channels when water rises.
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Aid Project - LEDC - Mali - Wateraid

  • water aid was established in 1981 and its first project was in Zambia
  • Mali has a 12million population
  • 65% of country is semi-desert
  • 50% has got improved supplies since 2000
  • the charity is an NGO
  • combined benefits of safe water, sanitation and hygiene education can reduce death toll from diarrhoea by an average of 65%
  • the aims are to give clean water access to 80% of the population by 2015
  • water pumps are being installed around the bamako area, this means that 50% of the population here have access to improved water supply. This has resulted in less water-borne diseases such as cholera
  • they have invested in the access of clean water through a water network and have trained locals to run and maintain the system. This means that the system as a whole becomes completely sustainable
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Location of economic activity - MEDC - UK

  • Primary
    • Dairy farming - south west - rolling landscape, not a problem for cattle to graze.
    • Arable farming - south east - flat landscape, ideal for growing crops.  Also, fertile soil and mild climate.
    • Coal mining - north east - since 13th century.
  • Secondary
    • Ship yards - north east - close to coast, close to raw materials to be transported.
    • Coal refineries - north east - close to source and transport links.
  • Tertiary
    • Finace - London - captial city means lots of communications links.
    • Retail - London - lots of customers, plenty of transport links (in and out of city).
  • Quaternary
    • Science - M4 Corridor - close to universities: lots of highly qualified students, availability of hi-tech equipment to use.  Good transport links - direct access to London and the south.
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Economic Development - Palm Oil Borneo

  • Located in Malaysia & Indonesia
  • Company is Nestle
  • Orangutans lose homes due to deforestation to make way for palm plantations


  • Palm oil doesn't require many pesticides
  • Produces a lot of energy as a biofuel
  • Absorbs a lot of CO2 however not as much as an equal area of rainforest
  • Little impacts on climate and global warming


  • Destroy habitat for thousand of organisms
  • UNEP predict 98% of lowland rainforest will be destroyed by 2022 (below sea level)
  • Dayak tribe will lose homes
  • Everyone has the right to free shelter.
  • Orangutans are very important and should be preserved
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Development - LEDC - Brazil


The warm temperature, adequate rainfall and rich soils provide many opportunities for farming. The region is important for; coffee, beef, rice, cacao, sugar cane and fruit.


-Main airports and seaports for the whole of Brazil.                                                                     -Significant for pipeline network of Oil and Gas.                                                                           -Big car industry here including; Ford,GM, Toyota, VW and Fiat. Other manufacturing indusries here include; Textiles, Furniture, Clothing, Printing, Brewing and Shoemaking.


Sao Paulo is by far the largest financial centre in South America


83km from Sao Paulo is Sao Jose dos campos, where the aerospace technical centre is located.

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Earthquake - LEDC - Haiti - 12th Jan. 2010

  • Causes:
    • Shallow focus - shockwaves very powerful - caused lots of damage.
    • Soft soil - caused liquifaction, collapse of port, aid couldn't easily reach land.
    • Buildings made from reinforced concrete collapsed not flexed,lots of deaths due to crushing.
    • Roads and transport links destroyed.
  • Impacts:
    • 310,000 deaths and millions homeless due to home collapses.
    • Lack of communications - difficult to direct aid and manage the crisis. 
    • Aid couldn't reach those in need due to roads being destroyed.
    • Electricity and Gas Supplies cut off.
    • No access to clean water - easy spread of diseases such as cholera.
  • Responses:
    • Construction of EQ proof houses that flex under stress rather than collapse.
    • Debt due to borrowing from other countries to pay for reconstruction.
    • Jobs created to help with reconstruction.
    • Planning for future crisees.
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Hurricane - MEDC - Katrina - USA

  • Causes:
    • Hurricane Katrina tracked over the Gulf of Mexico and hit New Orleans, a coastal city with huge areas below sea-level which were protected by defence walls, called levees. The hurricane's storm surge, combined with huge waves generated by the wind, pushed up water levels around the city. The levees were overwhelmed by the extra water, with many collapsing completely. This allowed water to flood into New Orleans, and up to 80% of the city was flooded to depths of up to six metres. Hurricane Katrina also produced a lot of rainfall, which also contributed to the flooding.

  • Impacts:
    • Tens of thousands made homeless and 1800 killed.
    • 300,000 homes destroyed and electricity supplies cut-off.
    • Coastal habitats for animals were destroyed.
    • Water supplies polluted with sewage, chemicals and dead bodies.
  • Responses:
    • Flood defences and evacuation plans improved.
    • $50 billion in aid was given by the government.
    • The UK government sent food aid during the early stages of the recovery process.
    • The National Guard was mobilised to restore and maintain law and order in what became a hostile and unsafe living environment.
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Drought - LEDC - Kenya

  • Causes:
    • Farmers cutting trees - deforestation - less evapotranspiration - less moisture in atmosphere, less rainfall.
    • Kenya is poor - dams and resevoirs not affordable.
    • Climate change - high temps. dried up farmland, failiure of rainy seasons.
  • Impacts:
    • Lack of drinking water for animals and people - deaths of animals and people.
    • Lake Nakuru - shrinking fast, threatening rare species.
    • Decrese of hygiene levels due to lack of water, high risk of disease spread.
    • Reduction in tourism - country is becoming poorer.
  • Responses:
    • Farmers stopped from cutting forests - relocated to other places.
    • People encouraged to help charities assisting the country.
    • Water pumped from boreholes for animals to drink
    • Compensation given to farmers who lost crops and cattle.
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River Valley - River Clyde - Scotland

  • Facts:
    • 160km long.
    • Source: In the Southern Uplands region of Scotland.
    • River flows north-west through Motherwell and Glasgow
    • River mouth is an estuary on west coast of Scotland
  • Features + Landforms:
    • Estuary - 34km west of Glasgow - 3km wide - Into Irish Sea.
    • Flood plain - Glasgow built on it - 5m above sea level.
    • Meanders - between Motherwell and Glasgow.
    • Ox-bow lake - forming near village of Uddingston.
    • Waterfalls(4) - Falls of Clyde - highest fall 27m - Gorge along which waterfall retreating.
    • Interlocking spurs - Crawford - 300m-500m high.
    • Source - Lowther hills - tributaries(2) come together to form River Clyde.
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