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Physical Geography

Earthquakes
Where Do they Happen?
Detructive Plate Boundaries: When one Plate Subducts
Passive Plate Boundaries: Where one plate slides past the other
How do they Happen?
During subduction earthquakes occur in the Wadati Benioff Zones
Occur between 10 600km deep
3 types:
Shallow focus
Intermediate Focus
Deep Focus
Shallow Focus (<70km)
Occur due to friction during initial collision between plates
Pressure builds during the slow collision until part of the crust gives way
Forces involved release vast amounts of energy in waves
Shallow Earthquakes are particularly destructive as surface shaking is violent
Intermediate Focus
Occur due to the change in shape as the subducting plate dips into the mantle
Deforming of upper layer releases tremors which can travel thousands of km
Can lead to the formation of a tsunami
Deep Focus ( 300 600km)
Occur due to chemical Changes and movements in magma
This magma expands & rises forcing rock structures above to deform due to pressure
Earthquake intensity
Seismograph: Records tremors which are compared to richter scale for magnitude
Richter Scale: Shows how strong and earthquake is
1 4: Daily occurrence with no damage caused
4 6: Common occurrence which can cause some damage
6 8: A few per year which cause severe damage
8 9: Rare causing devastation
Earthquake Waves
P waves (compression): First wave & travels at high speed
Minute compression in a knock on effect
S Waves (sheer): Slower than P waves
Cause Perpendicular motions
First tremors humans feel
Some damage depending on intensity
Raleigh Waves: Travel slowly
Combines both lateral and perpendicular waves
Devastating due to slower waves as they have a greater effect on surface
Factors that influence Earthquakes
Magnitude of Earthquake
Time of day
Physical Factors: Distance from Equator
Structure of Soil and length of tremors
Population density and quality of buildings
Physical Geography
Rock Cycle
Igneous Rocks:
Intrusive and extrusive volcanic rocks
Cooling of magma/ lava
Have crystals.
Sedimentary Rocks:
Layers of broken down rocks, plants & sea creatures
Organic and inorganic
Metamorphic
Previously igneous and metamorphic rocks
Changed by heat and pressure
Sedimentary rocks
Stratified Layer: When a thin layer of rock sediment is compacted and cemented together it form a clearly
defined stratum ( horizontal layer)
Bedding Plane: Horizontal line that separates strata of sediment rock. Can be a weak point in the rock
Organic Sedimentary Rock Limestone
Most Common Rock type in Ireland
Made up of cemented & compressed remains of fish and other sea creatures
Made 350 million years ago
Colours: Vary from greyish white to blackish grey
Vertical cracks known as joints occur
Fossils are found in sedimentary rocks
Inorganic Sedimentary Rock Sandstone
Coarse Rock
Colours: Brown or Red
Most common type is Old red Sandstone
Formed 400 million years ago when Ireland had a desert climate
Formed where deposits of sediments where layered in river channels, deltas & floodplains
Human Interaction with the Rock Cycle
How do Humans interact with the Rock Cycle
Quarrying
Mining: Deep below the surface
Materials extracted include Diamond gold etc.
Drilling: Oil and gas resources
Quarrying
Provides important resources such as energy and building materials
Rock based building materials: Stone, gravel, sand
Granite, Limestone, marble extracted in Ireland
Marble used for ornamental features
What is Quarrying?
Removal of rock from large pits on the Earths surface
400 active pits in Ireland
Solid rock is extracted to provide raw materials for roads, houses etc.
Methods of Quarrying
Plug and Feather: Drilling holes into the rock
Steel wedges are inserted into the rock to split it
Extract large pieces that can be used for flooring
Methods of Quarrying contd.
Explosive: Extracts large & small pieces of rock
Channelling: Machinery is used to cut large pieces of rock
Slices of rock are then cut to customers requirements
Used when quarrying metamorphic rocks e.g. marble
Impacts of Quarrying
Negative Effects:
Visual pollution as quarries are unattractive and Slag heaps scar the landscape
Noise pollution as the use of heavy machinery & blasting causes a lot of noise and vibrations
Road Damage caused by heavy machinery entering and leaving the quarry
Quarrying causes a lot of dust which can travel into local homes
Water pollution as waste and dust can enter rivers which affects water quality and may kill fish
Abandoned quarries that are disused can be used as unauthorised rubbish tips
Positive Effects:
Direct employment people employed by the quarry
Construction rock fragments are combined to form a mixture used in construction industry
Indirect employment: People employment as a result of quarrying e.g. construction
Numbers declining e.g. 2007 saw 25000 employed. 2009 saw 126500 employed
Figures will fluctuate as economy grows/contracts
How Rocks are affected by the Environments (Chemical Weathering in Limestone)
Carbonation
Limestone is permeable
Rainwater collets carbon dioxide passing through the atmosphere
CO2 + H20 = H2C03
Dilute carbonic acid reacts with calcium (calcium carbonate)
It is broken down into the components calcium and bicarbonate
Soluble in water
Carbonation exploits joints & bedding planes in Limestone
These fissures are widened over thousands of years as solution takes place
Both surface & subsurface features occur e.g. Karst Landscape seen in the Burren Co. Clare
Surface Features
Limestone pavement
Swallow holes, resurgences
Subsurface Features
Caves
Caverns
Dripstone formations (spelotherms)










Physical Geography
Mass Movement
Movement of loose material down slope under the influence of gravity
Loose material on the surface is known as regolith
Influences on Mass movement
Slope / Gradient: The steeper the slope the more rapid mass movement is
Moisture content: Water lubricates material making it more likely to slide
Human Activities: Construction, deforestation & vibrations an trigger mass movement
Tectonic Activity: Earthquakes & volcanoes in Mountainous areas may trigger mass movement
Plants & trees: Roots of trees & plants hold and regulate the soil
Composition of soil: Composition of soil on slopes may trigger mass movement if it is unconsolidated
Types of Mass movement
Soil Creep: Very slow. Dont see it happening but can see effects. Common in Ireland
Slump Slides: Moderate. Dangerous to humans. Happens over a few weeks
Earth Flow: Moderate. Heavy rain causes soil to move down slope
Bog Burst: Slow or fast. Blanket peat, heavy rain causes huge amounts of soil to move. Common in Ireland
Rock Fall: Very fast. Occur in mountainous areas where rocks are distributed by mechanical weathering
Mud Flow: Very Fast. Soil mixed with ash & dust. Move up to 100 km/h
Avalanche: Very Fast. Humans can trigger them. Common in spring & occur on slopes up to 45
Landslides: Very Fast. Can be caused by human or tectonic activity. Very Dangerous