Predicting and preventing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

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Predicting earthquakes


These are used to detect plate movement.


Picks up vibrations in the Earth's crust. An increase in vibrations may lead to a possible earthquake.

Radon gas:

Escapes from cracks in the Earth's crust. A sudden increase may suggest an earthquake.

Animal behaviour:

Some people believe that they sense earthquakes before they happen. Changes in behaviour may indicate an earthquake.

Monitoring water levels:

Changes in levels may indicate a shift in the rocks below a lake or river.

Monitoring electrical charges:

There is evidence that foreshocks, (small tremors) and electrical discharges increase before an earthquake.

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Predicting Volcanoes

Using GPS technology:

This checks whether the volcano is bulging as a result of rising magma.

Gas sampling (composition):

Changes in gas composition indicate the activity levels of the gas underground.

Geothermal monitoring from space:

This records changes in heat as magma approaches the surface.

Seismic monitoring:

This allows scientists to "listen" to the rising blobs of magma as they force their way upwards and cause small earthquakes.

Historical records:

Records of past volcanic eruptions allow scientists to see if there is a regular pattern to the eruption.

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Preventing the effects of earthquakes

  • Educating local resisdants on how to prepare and react. Having an emergency kit ready with a torch, bottled water, first aid kit and tinned food.
  • Rubberised foundations on buildings allow the building to absorb the shock
  • Planning regulations determine how high buildings can be
  • Counter weights (weights which sway in the opposite direction to the building) return buildings to an upright position
  • Shutters cover windows which might shatter
  • Designing buildings to withstand minor earthquakes by having flexible steel frames, which sway as the ground moves
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Preventing the effects of volcanic eruptions

  • Spraying the lava to cool it down, making it solidify and stop flowing
  • Putting concrete or rock barriers in the path of the lava to divert it away from villages
  • Setting off explosions to divert the lava
  • Digging ditches to divert the flows away from areas of risk
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