Physical Geography


Mount St Helens: March 1980 Washington state


On a destructive plate boundary

N. American and Pacific plates collide

Pacific plate is sub-ducted and pressure/heat causes rock to "melt" into magma Increased pressure caused Mt St Helens to erupt.

 Primary Effects

ash and mud blocked roads, chocked rivers, bridges destroyed

ash cloud took 17 days to travel round the world

57 people died

Secondary Effects: national park partly destroy local tourism disrupted i.e. camp sites, hotels etc.farming community and locals suffered huge losses-land, £, property

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Fold Mountain Range ( The Alps)

Central Europe, the Alps form the border between Italy and the neighbouring countries of France When fold mountains are formed various rocks get folded in a variety of ways. These have specific names which you have to learn for the exam:

  • Geosyncline - a large depression in which sediment has been deposited into it
  • Anticline - the upfolds of folded rock
  • Syncline - the downfolds of folded rock
  • Nappes - when the rock has been severely folded and faulted it forms these

Physical problems for people

  • Relief – mainly high and steep. There is little flat land for farming and building settlements.
  • Climate – with increasing height it gets colder, windier and wetter and more precipitation falls as snow. Often impossible to grow crops at high levels.
  1. Farming  
  2.  Farms located on sunnier and warmer south-facing slopes
  1. Tourism
  2. Winter tourism.Snow for skiing and other winter sports; in between the days of heavy snowfall there and many sunny, crisp and clear days.

·  The steep slopes, high precipitation and summer melting of glaciers produce fast flowing rivers that are ideal for generating HEP. The narrow valleys are easy to dam and there are lakes in which to store water.Some of the electricity is also exported to other regions to supply towns and cities.

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Haiti Earthquake

Up to 316,000 people died and more than a million people were made homeless, even in 2011 people remained in make shift temporary homes.  Large parts of this impoverished nation where damage, most importantly the capital Port Au Prince, where shanty towns and even the presidential palace crumbled to dust. 3 million people in total were affected. Few of the Buildings in Haiti were built with earthquakes in mind, contributing to their collapse.

Short-Term Responses

Many countries responded to appeals for aid, pledging funds and dispatching rescue and medical teams, engineers and support personnel.Communication systems, air, land, and sea transport facilities, hospitals, and electrical networks had been damaged by the earthquake, which slowed rescue and aid efforts.

Long-Term Responses

The EU gave $330 million and the World Bank waived the countries debt repayments for 5 years.6 months after the quake, 98% of the rubble remained un cleared, some still blocking vital access roads.  

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Christchurch New Zealand Earthquake

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand at 12:51 on 22 February 2011.  The epicentre was 6 miles South East of Christchurch and the focus was very shallow at 3.1 miles.  The earthquake occurred on a conservative plate margin where the Pacific Plate slid past the Australian Plate in the opposite direction

Primary Effects-

181 people were killed and around 2,000 people were injured. Hundreds of kilometres of water and sewage pipes were damaged

Secondary Effects-

Business were put out of action for long periods causing losses of income and jobs. Schools had to share classrooms because of the damage to other school buildings

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Boxing Day Tsunami

December 2004

Earthquake Indian Ocean, off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia

Number of people dead/missing – 220 000+

Number of people displaced – about 2 million

Houses destroyed – over 500 000 

In a week over £450 million had been pledged from all over the world.Cargo planes from all over the world brought blankets and medicines.Trucks full of food, medicines and body bags reached places still accessible by road.

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YellowStone Supervolcano


Yellowstone National Park is located in the North West of the USA.

When considering the Yellowstone supervolcano, one of, if not the largest supervolcano in the World, the effects could be catastrophic and change the face of the planet as we know it.  Currently, there are 3,000 earthquakes in the area each year and along with various other changes, it has led scientists to worry that an eruption could occur soon, although this is very unlikely.  An eruption in the next couple of centuries is not expected.  Some of the effects are predicted to be: 25 mile high ash cloud. Everything within a 100 mile radius of the eruption will be destroyed. The ash in the atmosphere could lower global temperatures by 20°C. 1,000 miles away, the layer of ash that will be deposited on the ground will be up to 10ft thick. 87,000 could be killed. 1 in 3 people affected would die

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