iGCSE Plate Tectonics - Case Studies

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  • Created on: 03-10-19 12:02

LEDC Earthquake - Haiti


Haiti is part of a large Caribbean island called Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic is located to the east of Haiti. Found in the Caribbean Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Cause of the earthquake

Haiti lies right on the boundary of the Caribbean and North American plates. There was slippage along a conservative plate boundary that runs through Haiti.

Backgroundearthquake's epicentre was 25 km west of Port-au-Prince, the capital. Most people, businesses and services were located in the capital.

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LEDC Earthquake - Haiti

Social impacts of the earthquake (effects on people)

·        3 million people affected.

·        Over 220,000 deaths.

·        300,000 injured.

·        1.3 million made homeless.

·        Several hospitals collapsed.

Economic impacts of the earthquake (effects on money and jobs)

·        30,000 commercial buildings collapsed.

·        Businesses destroyed.

·        Damage to the main clothing industry.

·        Airport and port damaged.

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LEDC Earthquake - Haiti

Response to the earthquake

Haiti is a very poor country without the money and resources to redevelop. It is one of the least developed countries in the world with most Haitians living on $2 or less per day, about £1.30.

Because there were few earthquake-resistant buildings, the devastation was massive. Many buildings simply collapsed or were damaged beyond repair.

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LEDC Earthquake - Haiti

Primary responses

·        Neighbouring Dominican Republic provided emergency water and medical supplies as well as heavy machinery to help with search and rescue underneath the rubble, but most people were left to dig through the rubble by hand.

·        Emergency rescue teams arrived from a number of countries, eg Iceland.

·        Medical teams began treating the injured - temporary field hospitals were set up by organisations like the International Committee of the Red Cross.

·        GIS was used to provide satellite images and maps of the area, to assist aid organisations.

·        People from around the world watched the news from Haiti on TV and through social networks. Many pledged money over their mobile phones.

·        United Nations troops and police were sent to help distribute aid and keep order.

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LEDC Earthquake - Haiti

Secondary responses

·        Money was pledged by organisations and governments to assist in rebuilding, but only slow progress had been made after one year.

·        After one year, there were still 1,300 camps.

·        'Cash for work' programs are paying Haitians to clear rubble.

·        Small farmers are being supported - so crops can be grown.

·        Schools are being rebuilt.

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MEDC Earthquake - ChristChurch, New Zealand

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MEDC Earthquake - ChristChurch, New Zealand


The earthquake struck on 22 February 2011. It was a 6.3 magnitude earthquake and the focus was very shallow at 4.99 km deep. The earthquake happened on a conservative plate margin between the Pacific Plate and the Australian Plate.

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MEDC Earthquake - ChristChurch, New Zealand



·        181 people were killed.

·        2,000 injured.

·        Over 50 per cent of the city's buildings were damaged.

·        The city's cathedral spire collapsed.

·        Water and sewage pipes were damaged.


·        Businesses were closed for a long time.

·        Christchurch couldn't hold the five Rugby World Cup matches.

·        Schools were closed for two weeks due to the damage.

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MEDC Earthquake - ChristChurch, New Zealand



·        International aid was provided (around $6-7 million).

·        Aid workers from charities such as the Red Cross came to help.

·        Areas were zoned to assess damage.

·        300 Australian police officers were flown in.


·        $898 million in building insurance claims.

·        Water and sewerage were restored to the city by August 2011.

·        Temporary housing was provided.

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LEDC Volcanic Eruption - Montserrat

Montserrat is a small island in the Caribbean. There is a volcanic area located in the south of the island on Soufriere Hills called Chances Peak. Before 1995 it had been dormant for over 300 years. In 1995 the volcano began to give off warning signs of an eruption (small earthquakes and eruptions of dust and ash). Once Chances Peak had woken up it then remained active for five years. The most intense eruptions occurred in 1997.

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LEDC Volcanic Eruption - Montserrat

During this time, Montserrat was devastated bypyroclastic flows. The small population of the island (11,000 people) was evacuated in 1995 to the north of Montserrat as well as to neighbouring islands and the UK.

Despite the evacuations, 19 people were killed by the eruptions as a small group of people chose to stay behind to watch over their crops.

Volcanic eruptions and lahars have destroyed large areas of Montserrat. The capital, Plymouth, has been covered in layers of ash and mud. Many homes and buildings have been destroyed, including the only hospital, the airport and many roads

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LEDC Volcanic Eruption - Montserrat

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LEDC Volcanic Eruption - Montserrat

Short-term responses and results

  • Evacuation
  • Abandonment of the capital city
  • The British government gave money for compensation and redevelopment
  • Unemployment rose due to the collapse of the tourist industry

Long-term responses and results

  • An exclusion zone was set up in the volcanic region
  • A volcanic observatory was built to monitor the volcano
  • New roads and a new airport were built
  • Services in the north of the island were expanded
  • The presence of the volcano resulted in a growth in tourism
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MEDC Volcanic Eruption - Italy

Background Info

21st July 2001, Mt Etna erupted on the Island of Sicily. 


Destructive plate boundary between Eurasian and African plate. Eurasian plate subducted under the African plate. Friction caused the Eurasian plate to melt and forced its way through weaknesses in the African plate to the surface. 

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MEDC Volcanic Eruption - Italy



  • People died
  • Holiday villas were damaged/destroyed
  • Towns and villages were destroyed e.g. Catania


  • Roads destroyed
  • Ski areas ruined
  • Farms destroyed
  • Airport forced to close


  • Vegetation destroyed
  • Animals killed
  • Habitats destroyed
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MEDC Volcanic Eruption - Italy


Short term

  • Evacuation
  • US army helicopters dropped 2 tonne concrete blocks to stop lava flow
  • Airport shut down
  • Italian government gave £5.6 million of Aid
  • 500kg mines exploded to divert lava away from towns and villages

Long term 

  • Rebuilding buildings
  • Improved monitoring of Mt Etna
  • Use of tourism to generate money
  • Italian government gave tax breaks to those effected (they didn't have to pay taxes)
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