Important Geography Case Studies – AQA


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Primary effects – caused by the shaking of the earth quake. It can destroy buildings and infrastructure, kill and injury.

Secondary effects – resulting from the shaking. Includes fires and landslides.

  Chile – February 2010 Nepal – April 2015
Primary effects: 500 killed. 12,000 injured. 800,000 people affected.

370,000 homes were damaged.

Power, water and communications were cut.

$30 billion damage.

9000 Killed, 20,000 injured and 8,000,000 people affected.

600,000 structures were either damaged or destroyed.

Power, water, sanitation and communications cut

-$5 billion damage

Secondary effects: Communities were cut off by landslides.

Coastal towns were devastated by a tsunami

Chemical plant fire near Santiago forced evacuation.

Communities were cut off by landslides and avalanches.

Avalanches on Mount Everest resulted in the death of 19 people.

Flooding caused by landslides blocked rivers.

Responses include emergency care, support and long-term reconstruction


Immediate responses: Search, rescue and short-term aid, keeping survivors alive by providing medical care, food, water and shelter. As well as finding dead bodies to avoid disease.

Long-term responses: Rebuilding and reconstruction of buildings to restore normal life and reduce future risk

  Chile – February 2010 Nepal – April 2015
Immediate responses: Swift and effective response by emergency services.

Key roads repaired within 24 hours.

Most power and water restored within 10 days

$60 million national appeal built 30,000 emergency wooden shelters

Overseas aid included widely active by non-governmental organization

Aid included helicopters for search, rescue and supply drops in remote areas, such as Mount Everest

300,000 people migrated from Kathmandu for shelter and support from family and friends

Long-term responses: Strong economy reduced need for foreign aid

Government reconstruction plan to help 200,000 households

Full recovery within 4 years

Roads repaired, landslides cleared and flood lakes drained.

International conference to seek technical and financial support

Indian border blockade in 2015 caused  crippling fuel, medicine and construction material storage

Tropical Storms:

Typhoon Haiyan, November 2013: One of the strongest category 5 storms ever to be recorded.

  Typhoon Haiyan, November 2013
Primary effects: (Result from strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge)

– Very low air pressure caused 5m storm surge swept on shore by winds up to 170mph

– Coastal devastation included 90% of Tacloban destroyed by storm surge

6300 killed

Over 600,000 displaced

Wind damage to buildings, power lines and crops

Over 400 mm of rain caused widespread flooding

Secondary effects: (Resulting after from the primary effects) 14 million affected including 6 million jobs lost

Flooding caused landslides which blocked roads and restricting access for aid workers.

Shortages of power, water, food and shelter lead to outbreaks of disease.

Infrastructure, including schools, destroyed

Looting and violence was common

Immediate responses: Rapid overseas aid including non-governmental organizations

US helicopters assisted search and rescue, and delivery of aid

Field hospitals helped injured

Over 1200 evacuation

Long-term responses: UN and international financial aid, supplies and medical support

Rebuilding of infrastructure

Rice farming and fishing quickly re-established

Homes rebuilt in safer areas

More cyclone shelters built

The Somerset Level Floods 2014:

Causes: Immediate Responses
A sequence of south-westerly depressions brought record rainfall in January and February

High tides and storm surges swept water up from the rivers from the Bristol Channel preventing normal flow.

Rivers, clogged with sediment, had not been dredged for 20 years

Huge media interest was generated

Cut-off villagers used boats for transport

Community groups and volunteers gave invaluable support

Social, economic and environmental impacts; Longer-term responses
Over 600 houses flooded and 16 farms evacuated

Villages cut off – disrupting work, schools and shopping

-Estimated £10 million damage

14000 Hectares of farmland flooded and 1000 livestock evacuated

Power supply, roads and railways cut off

Floodwaters contaminated with sewage, oil and chemicals

Massive debris clearance required

£20 million Flood Action Plan launched by Somerset county council and Environment Agency to reduce future risk

8km of Rivers Tone and Parrett dredged

Road levels raised in lowest dips

Vulnerable communities will have flood defenses

River banks raised and strengthened, and more pumping stations built.

Possible tidal barrage at Bridgewater by 2024l


Deforestation in Malaysia

Malaysia is located in south-east Asia. It is 67% tropical rainforest.

Threats to the Malaysia
Logging – In the 1980s, Malaysia became the world’s largest exporter of highly valued tropical wood. But destructive clear felling (felling is the process of cutting down individual trees) has now largely been replaced by Selective Logging of mature trees only.
Road Building – Roads are constructed to provide access to logging and mining areas, new settlements and energy projects
Energy development – The Bakun HEP Dam
Mineral extraction – Tin mining is established and drilling for oil and gas has recently started
Population pressure – Poor people from urban areas have been encouraged to move into the countryside from rapidly growing cities. This transmigration has set up settlements and palm oil plantations
Commercial farming – Malaysia is the largest exporter of palm oil in the world.
Subsistence farming – Traditional short-term clearance is small scale and sustainable, but ‘slash and burn’ fires can grow out of control which can destroy large areas of forest.



Impacts of deforestation in Malaysia:
Reduces biodiversity with incalculable losses of undiscovered plant species and their medicinal potential
Exposes the ground to soil erosion by wind and rain
Impacts local and global climates by reducing photosynthesis, transpiration and the cooling effect of evaporation. This means that there is more carbon dioxide



Economic gains of deforestation in Malaysia: Economic losses of deforestation in Malaysia:
Job creation – directly in construction and operations, and indirectly in supply and support industries Water pollution in an increasingly dry climate may limit supplies
Tax revenue used to supply public services, for example education Fires pollute and destroy vast areas of valuable forest
Improved transport infrastructure benefits development and tourism Rising temperatures could devastate established farming
Plantation products support processing industries Plants that could from the basis of hugely profitable medicines may become
Minerals are valuable Climate change could have economic costs
  Rainforest tourism could decrease






Thar Desert:

What are opportunities for development in the Thar Desert?
Mineral extraction – valuable reserves are used domestically and for export
Tourism – Desert safaris on camels exploit the beautiful landscapes
Energy – includes coal, oil, solar and wind
Farming – subsistence grazing of animals in grassy areas. Vegetable and fruit cultivation, and commercial farming of pulses.
Irrigation from the Indria Gandhi Canal has made what was once scrubby desert productive


Challenges of development in hot deserts:  
Extreme Temperatures: The Thar Desert suffers from extremely high temperatures which:

-Makes physical work hard, especially for those who work outside, such as farmer

-Causes high rates of evaporation leading to water shortages

-Determines plant and animal adaptations and requires shade for livestock

Water Supply: Water in the Thar Desert is a scarce resource:

-Annual rainfall is low and high temperatures and strong winds cause high evaporation.

-As population has increased, farming and industry have developed, increasing the demand for water.

There are several sources:

-Traditional storage ponds – human-made and natural

-A few intermittent rivers and streams

-Underground aquifers requiring wells, through often the water is salty

Accessibility: Vast barren areas and very extreme weather limit the road network, as tarmac can melt during the day and strong winds blow sand over the roads. Many places are accessible only by camel.


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