Factors Affecting Earthquake Damage Causes Of Earthquakes

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Factors Affecting Earthquake Damage

Causes Of Earthquakes

  • Sometimes caused by human activity.
  • Nuclear Testing.
  • Building Large Dams.
  • Drilling For Oil.
  • Coal Mining.


  • Strength Of Earthquake/Number Of Aftershocks: The stronger the earthquake, the more damage it can do, e.g. an earthquake of 6.0 on the Richter Scale is 100 times more powerful than one of 4.0; the more aftershocks there are, the greater the damage that is done.
  • Population Density: An Earthquake that hits an area of high population density, such as the Tokyo region of Japan, could inflict far more damage than one which hits an area of low population and building density.


  • Type Of Buildings: MEDC’s generally have better quality buildings, more emergency services and the funds to cope with disasters. People in MEDC’s are more likely to have insurance cover than those in LEDC’s.
  • Time Of Day: An earthquake during a busy time, such as rush hour, may cause more deaths than an earthquake at a quiet time. There are fewer people in industrial and commercial areas on Sundays; there are more people in homes at night.


  • Distance From The Centre: of the earthquake, the closer a place is to the centre (epicentre) of the earthquake, the greater the damage that is done.
  • Type Of Rocks And Sediments: Loose materials may act like liquid when shaken; solid rock is much safer. Buildings should be built on flat areas formed of solid rock.

World’s Worst

  • Country
  • Year
  • Death Toll
  • Richter Scale
  • Indonesia
  • 2004
  • 248,000
  • 9.1
  • 2005
  • 86,000
  • 7.6
  • Bam, Iran
  • 2003
  • 30,000
  • 6.6
  • Chengdu, China
  • 2008
  • 78,000
  • 7.9

Activity 1

  • Using Advanced Geography P20-21, answer the following questions…
  • What are the main characteristics that affect earthquake damage and how could these factors be reduced for people?
  • How can these earthquake hazards be managed? (Give an advantage for each technique).
  • Which techniques do you feel are the best and why? Are there any disadvantages?

Activity 2

  • Based on the information you have gathered so far, answer the following essay question…
  • Evaluate the statement:
  • "There were more deaths from earthquakes in the last decade than the one before so earthquakes are becoming more common."

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