How Threatening Are Earthquakes To Human Life?
Earthquakes are some of the most destructive natural disasters that can befall mankind. While the forces of nature can be difficult to predict, there is no denying that earthquakes can cause immense damage to our homes, businesses and infrastructure. But what about their threat to human lives?
The Power of Magnitude
The strength and destructiveness of an earthquake depends largely on its magnitude. Earthquakes are rated on the Richter magnitude scale, with each unit representing an increase of 32 times the energy released from the previous unit; this means that a magnitude 8 earthquake is 32 times more powerful than a magnitude 7.
Dangers To Human Life
The dangers posed to human life are dependent on the magnitude of the quake. Generally, those at a magnitude of 6 and above will pose the most threat to people’s safety. At these magnitudes, the force is often enough to cause buildings and structures to collapse, roads to crack and bridges to break; all of the aforementioned can be extremely hazardous to people’s lives. Additionally, tsunamis caused by the earthquakes can flood coastlines and put lives in danger.
Preparing For Earthquakes
It is of vital importance that individuals know what to do when an earthquake strikes. While it is impossible to predict when an earthquake will happen, safety measures can be taken to prepare for the worst. Some of these include:
- Periodically review emergency plans – Emergency drills help us stay mindful of the importance of our plans and enable us to update them regularly.
- Create an emergency kit – Emergency kits should include items such as a first-aid kit, flashlight, non-perishable food, bottled water, and extra batteries.
- Identify safer locations – Knowing where the safest places in your home or workplace are can help you to react quickly and consciously in the event of an earthquake.
- Secure loose items -Heavy appliances, artwork and bookcases can be uniquely hazardous during tremors and as such should be secured properly with bolts, earthquake straps etc.
While earthquakes can be devastating events, learning how to respond and prepare for them undoubtedly plays a huge role in minimising the risk associated to human life. Earthquakes are a powerful and unpredictable force of nature. They can occur without warning and can cause serious damage to structures and the environment in their wake. In addition, they are also a significant threat to human life.
At their most powerful, earthquakes can have devastating consequences. In early 2020, an earthquake near Puerto Rico registered at a magnitude of 7.7 and caused massive damage and destruction. A large number of buildings were destroyed and several lives were lost.
Earthquakes typically occur when rocks underground move, causing vibrations at the surface. This can be particularly dangerous for people who are in vulnerable structures, such as buildings made from unreinforced masonry. Such structures are more likely to collapse than ones built from reinforced materials. Earthquakes can also trigger other hazards, such as landslides, tsunamis and fires.
The intensity of an earthquake is measured using the Richter Scale, with a magnitude of 7 or more likely to cause widespread destruction. Many countries have adopted building standards to limit damage in the event of an earthquake. These typically include reinforcing walls and roofs, and making the building structurally sound.
It is important to be aware of the risks that earthquakes can pose, and to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. This could include investing in a building that is up to code, knowing how to respond in an emergency, and having an earthquake preparedness plan in place.
In conclusion, earthquakes are a major threat to human life, and it is important to understand how to stay safe. Countries can mitigate the effects of an earthquake by introducing strict building codes and making sure that the public is aware of the potential risks. With the right preparation and knowledge, the impact of an earthquake can be greatly reduced.