Cause and Effect of Earthquakes Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:25:56
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The ground trembles, shakes and growls. Pictures that were once hanging so beautifully on the wall smash to the ground exploding into glittery slivers of broken glass, roadways break apart, engulfing whatever was in its path, never to be seen again. For many, this would seem to be the makings of a fictional horror movie created by Hollywood with intent to frighten a person and to play with ones senses. For those who live in the areas depicted by film, this is real life, all of the fear and terror of a shaking ground comes to life and people everywhere grab those that are most precious to them and scream Earthquake! According to Lisa Wald (2012), an Earthquake is what happens when two blocks of Earth suddenly slip past one another. Wald also says that the reason the earth shakes when there is an earthquake is that the edges of the faults are stuck together, and the rest of the block is moving, the energy that would normally cause the blocks to slide past one another is being stored up.

When the force of moving blocks finally overcomes the friction of the jagged edges of the fault and it unsticks, all that stored up energy is released. Wald goes on further to suggest that this energy is then released into seismic waves, it is these waves that cause the Earth to shake. This shaking, while normal for the Earths development, can be fatal for those who live in it. The damage that is caused by an earthquake can be broken into three specific areas. These areas include the Emotional damage, physical damage and environmental damage. The emotional damage caused by loss is one of the more detrimental areas of concern for humans as they are the ones whose lives are so greatly affected by feeling.

People generally tend to have a harder time accepting death if it is spontaneous (Hamilton health sciences, 2000). The grieving process is harder, last longer and is full of disbelief. When natural occurrences such as earthquakes happen, many individuals lose their lives in an instant. Whether it is due to power failure and medical equipment failing, the destruction of homes and buildings and being forced into the street facing other dangers such as wildlife or people with poor intentions, or becoming trapped under rubble from buildings or roadways that have been destroyed. This emotional damage caused makes it far more difficult for the survivors of the earthquakes to move past the tragedy quickly.

It may take many hours of grievance counseling for these people to be functional members of society again, to move forward with their lives. Some people develop severe anxiety and fear that an earthquake will hit when they are least expecting it and begin refusing to leave their homes. On the other hand, some individuals feel such a sense of togetherness after loss from an earthquake, they quickly pull together to help other people deal with their losses, searching for those who may still be alive and even assisting with clean up and rebuilding of homes and businesses. They go on to looking for more ways to help their community in the time of need, and really do a great deal to help others get back on their feet.

Physical damage is bound to happen to some extent during an earthquake, though architects and engineers are now looking at new ways to make buildings and homes more earthquake resistant for those who live in high quake areas, the cost of such engineering is incredibly costly and not everyone can afford such detail to construction. Many peoples homes, one moment standing proud and tall, end up reduced to rubbles of brick and mortar in a matter of seconds. Cars disappear into what was once a street or roadway never to be seen again. Businesses destroyed, too expensive to repair, force people into lives of poverty. Far too many individuals end up homeless and jobless from natural disasters without their loved ones or their most loved possessions, and have no ability to be able to start from scratch again.

Many insurance companies will not cover the damage caused by natural disasters, especially if the property is in an area known to be high in a specific disaster such as earthquakes. If they were to offer this form of protection, it would be at a greater cost to allow a person to rebuild their home or business. In the event of a natural disaster, the consequences could be dire and the insured could be slapped with higher yearly fees and deductibles. A price not many people are prepared to pay with high incidents of poverty in the world. Another of the more detrimental effects of earthquakes is how the environment changes with every quake that occurs.

The environment is obviously going to take the largest hit from an earthquake. Localized effects would include forest fires, mudslides, and landslides while greater effects can be felt on the other side of the planet with disasters such as tsunamis. The Asian countries have taken the hardest tolls due to earthquakes, with the largest tragedy being in 2004 when a tsunami that was developed out of a high-scaled earthquake in Sumatra. This tsunami assailed twelve countries, killed over two-hundred and twenty thousand people (Daniel Ten Kate & Berni Moestafa, 2012), and still continues to affect people eight years later. When a tsunami strikes, fatalities are guaranteed. People die by drowning, hypothermia, starvation, and rarely have time to escape their impending death or injury.

Beautiful flowers and gardens can be lost forever, sacred tombs, and artifacts washed out to see. Landslides and mudslides may not sound as fatal as a tsunami, however; these occur when the earth shifts and vibrates and causes the land to shift and vibrate with it. Many areas that are high for landslide danger put up protective netting or boarding to prevent the danger of it affecting people in the community, but it is not always possible to contain. They can quickly bury homes and people with no chance of recovery. Fires can be caused by electrical wires being exposed and touching flammable debris, broken gas lines, and power lines and are almost impossible to extinguish with water mains being broken and dust and debris floating through the air feeding and fueling the fires. It is amazing that even a slight shift in the planet can cause such devastation in the world.

The shifting of the Earth, while natural, can be fatal to so many objects in its path. Yet it is something that can occur without notice, even with monitoring. The emotional, physical, and environmental damage that can occur is devastating and many people are left homeless, with no income, family, or possessions. Left to fend for themselves in the streets, searching for a way out, attempting to avoid the dangerous wildlife or people they may encounter on their own. Many children cry for their parents, never to see them again. The effects of earthquakes can be greatly reduced if humanity would listen to the scientists or experts on natural disasters. By building more structurally sound buildings and preparing ourselves further for a disaster, we can all benefit from becoming safer during an earthquake.

References
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/kids/eqscience.php
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-11/indonesia-hit-by-8-7-magnitude-quake-tsunami-warnings-issued.html http://www.hamiltonhealthsciences.ca/documents/Patient%20Education/SuddenDeathPORTRAIT-th.pdf

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