Restless Earth case studies

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How do people use an area of Fold Mountains?

Case study: The Andes

The Andes were formed some 65 million years ago

Longest fold mountain range 7,000km and extends down South America

300km width and average height of 4,000m


In Bolivia, many subsistence farmers grow a variety of crops on steep slopes

Potatoes arethe main source of food

They use terraces (steep cut into hillside to create flat land)

Terraces- retain water, and limit downward movement of soils

Most crops are grown in the lower valleys: soybeans, rice and cotton- all cash crops

Llamas are used for carrying materials for irrigation and building into inhospital  and inaccessible areas.

Can carry 25% of their body weight. 

Females used for meat and milk and wool for clothes and rugs


The Andes has a range of important minerals

Tin (Peru and Bolivia), Nickel (Colombia), Silver (Peru and Chile), and gold (Peru)

More than half of Peru's exports are from mining

The Yanacocha Gold Mine is the largest in the world

It's an open pit and gold loosened by dynamite- can lead to water contamination

Cajamarca has grown from 30,000 (when the mine opened) to 24,000. More people bring jobs but an increase in crime

Hydroelectric Power

The steep slopes and narrow valleys are an advantage for hydroelectic power

They are more easily dammed than wider valleys and relief encourages the rapid fall of water needed to generate power.

The variation throughout the year is a disadvantage, snow melting in spring increases levels


Natural attractions- mountain peaks, volcanoes, glaciers and lakes

The remains of early settlements bulit by Incas like MACHU PICCHU 

The INCA TRAIL is a trail which combnes both mountains and MACHU PICCHU

How do volcanoes affect people

Case study: Nyiragongo, Africa (LEDC)

On 17th January 2002, Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo was disturbed by the movement of plates along the East African rift valley.

Primary effects

  • Lava spilled southwards in three streams. The speed of the lava reached 60kmh, which is especially fast.
  • The lava flowed across the runway at Goma airport and through the town, splitting it in half.
  • The lava destroyed many homes as well as roads and water pipes, set off explosions in fuel stores and power plants
  • The lava killed 45 people

Secondary effects

  • Half a million people fled to Goma into neighbouring Rwanda to escape the lava.
  • They spent the night sleeping on the streets of Gisenyi.
  • Here, there was no shelter, electricity or clean water in the hope as the area could not cope with the influx.
  • Diseases such as cholera were a real risk. People were frightening of going back
  • Looting was a problem in Goma and many residents returned within a week in hope of receiving aid.


  • In the after math of the eruption, water had to be supplied in tankers.
  • Aid agencies, including Christian aid and Oxfam, were involved in the distribution of food, medicine and blankets

Case study: Mt Helens, USA (MEDC)

  • Mt.


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