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Earthquakes and seismic activity which are caused by shifts in

Tectonic plates at fault lines have many effects and impacts not only including those on

humans, but also biological, and geographical repercussions.


What is the cause of earthquakes and seismic activity?

- An earthquake is the shaking of the ground caused by an abrupt shift of rock

along a fracture in the Earth, called a fault. Within seconds, an earthquake releases

stress that has slowly accumulated within the rock, sometimes over hundreds of

years. (Noson, Qamar, & Thorsen 1988)

- Today, scientists monitor the buildup of strain near locked faults

using satellite observations, and the pattern is much like Reid

hypothesized 100 years ago. (d’Alessio, 2007)

What are the human effects of earthquakes?

- Health: Earthquakes and its consequences present a major public health problem.

Like other natural disasters, often without warning, they strike quickly, and are

uncontrollable, affecting large population and leaving injury, death, and

destruction subsequently. After earth quick, with the loss of loved ones and

livelihood, survivors are at increased risk for experiencing psychological distress,

including posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD).The prevalence of PTSD reported

in victim of earth quake trauma ranges from 13-95% (1). (Ziaaddini, Nakhaee,

Behzadi 2009)
- Health: 26 tetanus patients were admitted to eight hospitals following the

earthquakes that occurred on May, 27, 2006, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Sutiono

Qiantori Suwa Ohta 2009)

- Architectural Damage: Existing reinforced concrete (RC) frame buildings with

non-ductile detailing represent a considerable hazard during earthquakes. This

type of buildings suffered severe damages and were responsible for most of the

loss of life during the major Italian seismic events such as the 1981 Irpinia

earthquake. Improving the seismic response of this type of construction can be

considered as one of the main concern for structural engineers.

- Loss of life - At 2:28 p.m. on 12 May, 2008, a devastating earthquake measuring

8.0 on the Richter scale hit Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province in southwest

China, and resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. To date, few

epidemiological studies have been conducted on the determinants of the mortality

of patients hospitalized after an earthquake. (Wen, Shi, Li, Wang,

Cheng, Gao, & Li 2009)

What are the biological effects, on the flora and fauna surrounding the earthquake?

- Violent earthquakes are very destructive. They often cause avalanches which dam

and form lakes and the shaking of the ground some forms depressions in which

lakes and ponds gather are thrown down cracks in which plants and animals are

swallowed up are opened in the ground and great destruction of life is caused by the

overturning of houses. (Phillips, & Tarr, 1912)

What are the geographical effects of earthquakes?

- The term "landslide" describes a wide variety of processes that result in the

downward and outward movement of slope-forming materials including rock,

soil, artificial fill, or a combination of these. The materials may move by falling,

toppling, sliding, spreading, or flowing. (Landslide Types and Processes, July


- Tsunamis such as those that pounded Papua New Guinea are the world's most

powerful waves. Historical patterns of their occurrence are revealed in large

databases developed by James F. Lander, Patricia A. Lockridge and their

colleagues at the National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colo., and

Viacheslav K. Gusiakov and his associates at the Tsunami Laboratory in

Novosibirsk, Russia. Most tsunamis afflict the Pacific Ocean, and 86 percent of

those are the products of undersea earthquakes around the Pacific Rim, where

powerful collisions of tectonic plates form highly seismic subduction zones.

(Gonzalez 1999)

- In both 1989 and 1906, buildings and streets had lots of damage where they were

built on wet sand layers. This sand had been deposited not long ago neither by

rivers and creeks or by humans making new land by dumping sand into water

bodies. Normally such sandy soil provides excellent support for buildings, but

earthquake shaking jiggles the sand and squeezes the water trapped between the

grains so much that the layer begins to act like a muddy liquid. We call this

process liquefaction. (Holzer, 2007)


Ziaaddini, H., Nakhaee, N., & Behzadi, K. (Jan 2009). Prevalence and correlates of

PTSD among high school students after the earthquake disaster in the City of Bam, Iran.

(Post traumatic stress disorder)(Report). American Journal of Applied

Sciences, 6, 1. p.130 (3).

Sutiono, A. B., Qiantori, A., Suwa, H., & Ohta, T. (March 6, 2009). Characteristic tetanus

infection in disaster-affected areas: case study of the Yogyakarta earthquakes in

Indonesia. (Short Report)(Report). BMC Research Notes, 2, 34. p.34.

Mazzolani, F M, Corte, G. D., & D'Aniello, M. (March 2009). Experimental analysis of

steel dissipative bracing systems for seismic upgrading /Stiprinamu pastatu seisminius

poveikius slopinaneiu plieniniu rysiniu sistemu eksperimentiniai tyrimai. Journal of Civil

Engineering and Management, 15, 1. p.7 (13).

Wen, J., Shi, Y. K., Li, Y. P., Wang, L., Cheng, L., Gao, Z., & Li, L. (Feb 27, 2009). Risk

factors of earthquake inpatient death: a case control study. (Research)(Report). Critical

Care, 13, R24. p.R24.

Noson, Qamar, & Thorsen (1988). Washington State earthquake hazards. Washington

State Department of Natural Resources, Washington Division of Geology and Earth

Resources Information Circular, 85, 1, 1-100.

Phillips, W., & Tarr, R. (1912). New Physical Geography. Harvard University: Macmillan

Co. Republished in 2009.

Landslide Types and Processes. (July 2004). U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet, 2004-

3072, Version 1.0. Updated 2008.

Gonzalez, F. (May 1999). TSUNAMI!. Scientific American Magazine, 5, 11. Updated


d’Alessio M.D. , M. (September 2007). The Earthquake Machine: What 1906 taught us

about how earthquakes work. San Fransisco Chronicle in Education., .: U.S. Geological


Holzer, T. (September 2007). Liquification - When the ground flows. San Fransisco

Chronicle in Education.: U.S. Geological Survey.