Case studies for unit 1

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This is the formation.  Magma rises up through cracks in the crust to form a large magma basin below the surface The pressure of the magma causes a circular bulge on the surface several kilometres wide. The bulge eventually cracks, creating vents for lava to escape through. The lava  erupts out of the vents causing earthquakes and sending up gigantic plumes of ash and rock. As the magma basin empties, the bulge is no longer supported so it collapses – spewing up more lava. When the eruption has finished there is a big crater called the caldera left where the bulge collapsed.


Global consequence

A supervolcanic eruption will throw out thousands of cubic kilometres of rock, ash and lava. A thick cloud of super-heated gas and ash will flow at high speed from volcano, killing, burning and burying everything it touches. Everything within tens of miles will be destroyed. Ash will shoot kilometres into the air and block out almost all daylights over whole continents. This can trigger mini ice ages as less heat energy from the sun gets to Earth. The ash will also settle over hundreds of square kilometres, burying fields and buildings.  


Location : Central Europe – it stretches across Austria, France,  Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Formation : The Alps were formed about 30 million years ago by collision between the African and European plates.

Tallest peak : Mont Blanc at 4810m on the Italian-French border

Population : Around 23 million people.


The steep upland area are used to farm goats, which provide milk, cheese and meat. Some sunnier slopes have been terraced to plant vineyards such as in Lavaux in Switzerland.


100 million tourist visit the Alps each year making tourism a huge part of the economy. 70% of tourists visit the steep, snow covered mountains in the winter for skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing. In the summer tourist visit for walking, mountain biking, paragliding and climbing.


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