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CHAPTER 5: INTRO TO NATURAL HAZARDS 5.1 HAZARDS, DISASTERS AND NATURAL PROCESSES Natural Disasters : Loss of Life and Property Damages Examples: hurricanes, floods, earthquakes Kill and average of 150,000 people annually worldwide *These catastrophes (terrible disasters) were caused by natural hazards, but their effects were affected by human population density and land use patters Why Natural Processes are Sometimes Hazardous Become hazardous when people live or work in areas where natural hazards occur Or when land use changes like urbanization or deforestation affect natural processes It is the geologists role to identify potentially hazardous processes, but it is difficult to get people to follow geologists advice and warnings Magnitude and Frequency In general frequency is inversely related to the magnitude of disastrous events o Ex- small earthquakes occur more often than large ones But may be influenced by factors like climate and land use Benefits of natural Hazards Flooding- provides fertile soil for farming and flushes pollutants from estuaries Volcanoes- create new land (Hawaiian islands), and ash may fertilize soil for wild plants Earthquakes- may create a fault gouge- clay zone along fault that provides a natural subsurface for dams and water resources (ex- San Andreas Fault oases) o Also important in mountain building = beautiful US scenic resources! Death and Damage caused by Natural Resources Great loss of life does not always correlate with extensive property damage In US, largest numbers of death is caused by tornadoes and wind storms Los of life from earthquakes varies from year to year
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Expansive soil cause over $3billion in damages annually Catastrophe - any situation in which damages to people, property or society are sufficient such that recovery or rehabilitation is a long involved process
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This note was uploaded on 01/05/2011 for the course GEOL 108 at USC.

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