Natural disasters are often not natural

Natural disasters are often not natural disasters, but remain in fact human disasters. Discuss this statement in relation to seismic events.

The word ‘natural’ indicates that humans have not triggered the catastrophe. However, human activity can definitely interfere with nature, which in turn may either cause a natural disaster or make its impacts much worse. Earthquakes can affect people in lots of various methods in countries all over the world. They are an item of extreme seismic activity where plates are interacting, at a devastating of change faults, particularly leading to a develop of stress listed below the Earths surface area.

When this stress is released the structures, bridges, pipelines etc which lie in the line of the seismic waves can frequently not withstand the force and strain of the earthquakes and can possibly damage people. Nevertheless is it the individuals’s fault that the earthquake took place in the first location? Earthquakes caused by human activity have been recorded in a few locations in the YSA, Japan and Canada.

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The cause was injection of fluids into deep wells for garbage disposal and secondary healing of oil, and using reservoirs for water products. The majority of these earthquakes however were minor. The biggest and most well-known resulted from fluid injection at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, Colorado. For years researchers have actually been researching caused seismicity, or how human activity can trigger earthquakes. Such a link acquired attention in the early 1960s when numerous quakes were tape-recorded in Colorado after the Army began injecting fluid into a disposal well.

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There are numerous methods human activity can activate earthquakes. In the 1930s for example, the building of Hoover Dam in Arizona unleashed a burst of seismic activity in the area that reached a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale. Geothermal- energy jobs have been understood to make the ground shake. This process includes pumping pressurised water a mile into the Earth, then sucking up the heated liquid to make steam and drive turbines to generate electricity. A dam can not trigger an earthquake by itself. The danger factors, specifically unsteady geological fault, need to exist already.

With the right conditions in place, though, a dam can trigger the event earlier than would have happened naturally, and perhaps even increase its magnitude. ‘Human engineering has been triggering earthquakes for more than half a century’ says Leonardo Seeber, professor at Lamont- Doherty Earth Observatory, and manmade quakes may be more common than acknowledged. However Dr. Seeber says that ‘distinguishing natural from triggered earthquakes is generally difficult’ he said ‘Agents triggering the earthquake often refuse to admit responsibility and make it difficult to obtain the data that could prove it’. Even a smell stress increase can cause a fault to fail, Dr Seeber said: humans tend to do it in two ways. One is by changing the load on the crust, typically with artificial lakes, which increase the load, and with quarries and oil fields, which decrease the load. The other ways is increasing the pressure of the interstitial fluid.

This isn’t to say that all earthquakes are caused by humans. They are typically natural occurrences. They’re most often caused by the shifting of plates of rock under the surface od the earth. These plates move along fault lines, which are places where the otherwise solid rock of Earth’s crust has cracked. When the plates slide against each other, or away from each other, the Earth vibrates violently. Less often, earthquakes are caused by natural occurrences like volcanic eruptions. But vibrations felt at the surface of the Earth can also result from Earth-shaking, manmade events like underground bomb testing and mine collapses. In conclusion, my view is for the most part, the accumulating stress that creates the stress build up until it’s great enough to overcome that friction, at which point seismic energy is released violently as the blocks catch up on decade’s worth of motion in just a few seconds is much too large for human activities to make a difference.

We can, however, affect the friction that locks up the fault. Hydraulic fracturing, where fluids are pumped into the ground at extremely high pressures to crack rocks that release natural gas and oil, has been shown to do just that in certain situations. Increasing the fluid pressure inside the fault partially de-stabilises the friction-lock, lowering the stress threshold necessary to trigger an earthquake just enough for one to occur. Despite the obvious negative effects that humans have on prematurely causing an earthquake, the natural factors of the earthquake are fundamentally the reason they occur because without these then the earthquake wouldn’t happen. Human impacts speed up and may make the earthquake worse however they are in fact natural disasters with human elements thrown into the equation. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

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Natural disasters are often not natural. (2016, Aug 22). Retrieved from

Natural disasters are often not natural

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