A sudden jerk and the entire world is shaken upside down. This is what an earthquake typically does. Earthquakes are caused when tectonic plates beneath the surface of the Earth move or shake. They cause a series of waves, whose magnanimity goes on decreasing when they move away from epicenter. Although the main cause of earthquakes occurs below the ground, its impact is largely felt and seen on the surface. This natural catastrophe cannot be predicted and neither can it be controlled. It demands earthquake prone areas to take precautionary measures.
What are the Effects of Earthquakes
Effect on Human Life
The cause of an earthquake seems only natural, however, the biggest loss an earthquake creates is the loss of human life. With colossal damage of buildings, roads, bridges and floods creates destabilization of human life. For instance, the Tsunami which hit the Indian ocean in 2004, killed 230,000 and left several homeless. The disruption of human life leads to poverty, diseases, lack of bare minimum necessities and creates never-ending problems of restoring human life.
When an earthquake takes place in the oceans or the seas, it causes Tsunamis. These are long-wavelength and long-period sea waves. They rise a minimum to 100 kilometers and can be as frequent as five minutes to an hour. A wave as such can cause destruction par belief even after it has traveled for thousands of kilometers. It takes an earthquake of 7.5 on the Richter scale or more to cause a tsunami.
The destruction an earthquake likely to cause is definitely an unpredictable one. When a certain water body such as a lake or a river is deformed due to an earthquake it can result in a flood. Damage of dams can so cause a sudden overflow of water into land. Landslips due to earthquake into dam reservoirs can also lead to a flood situation.
When fine soil such as sand loses its power and gets liquefied, it is known as soil liquefaction. This can cause many buildings to sink and cause great destruction. Such kind of destruction can wipe out infrastructure and pose a threat to human life.
The severe movement that earthquakes make can cause serious damage to electrical and gas lines. As it disrupts the whole of infrastructure, it gets difficult to bring down the fire. The latest earthquake in Japan has damaged the nuclear reactor which has led to nuclear radiation in the country.
Shaking and Ground Rupture
This is a primary effect of an earthquake. The visible breaking of ground and displacement of the Earth, which can go up to several meters is known as shaking and ground rupture. This can be a major risk if it happens close to a dam, a nuclear plant or near other power stations.
Nothing compares to the loss of human lives that is suffered by nations during such a natural calamity. Rise in population has exposed the world to the greatest loss it can ever suffer. It has also led to urban expansion in earthquake prone areas. A nation can only take precautionary measures to circumvent the probable damage that an earthquake can cause. Understanding the placement of tectonic plates, marking earthquake prone zones and building earthquake proof buildings is one way of dealing with this problem. A nation must be financially prepared and must be well equipped with disaster management plans, at all times, to deal with any kind of natural calamity. Cooperation from the society and help from neighboring during such times can also help a nation cope up with such a problem. Collective resilience is the only solution towards dealing with any kind of natural catastrophe.