Volcanic Feature: Kilauea
Volcanic activities can include gas emissions, lava emissions, and ash emissions. Kilauea is an active volcano located in the Hawaiian Islands (Lutgens, Tarbuck, & Tasa, 2011). It is characterized by the emission of lava, tephra, and gas (Poland, Miklius, & Montgomery-Brown, 2015). The volcano erupts repeatedly and produces vast amounts of magma that often changes the surface of the island.
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Origin and Causes
Kilauea was created when the Pacific tectonic plate and the Hawaiian hotspot converged. It was a submarine volcano, but it built itself during numerous eruptions that have taken place since the Cenozoic Era (Poland et al., 2015). The cause of the eruptions is the rupture in the Earth’s crust that allows lava and gas to escape from under the planet’s surface.
Volcano & Plate Tectonic Theory
Kilauea, like any other Hawaiian volcano, can be regarded as one of the major sources of exploration and justification of the tectonic theory. Scientists have explored the eruptions and focused on the composition of liquids that erupted (Poland et al., 2015). These data enable researchers to identify the age of the volcanoes as well as various peculiarities of volcanoes formation, structure, and lifecycle.
Like any other active volcano, Kilauea poses numerous hazards to the ecosystem of the island. Eruption often leads to the significant change of the surface of the island, which is associated with the loss of numerous species. In the 1990s, the eruptions led to the loss of several villages, roads, and beaches (Kauahikaua & Tilling, 2015).
As for economic resources associated with this volcano, it is possible to note that it has become one of the most visited tourist destinations. It attracts millions of visitors each year, which is associated with some financial gains for the region. At that, the volcano causes more trouble as the gas and liquids that are emitted to have adverse effects on the development of agriculture in the area.
Groundwater Feature: Central Valley Aquifers
The Central Valley aquifer is located in California. Some of the largest groundwater reservoirs are found in these aquifers (Scanlon, Longuevergne, & Long, 2012). At that, scientists stress that there is an alarming trend of water depletion (Scanlon et al., 2012). Importantly, the quality of this water is often lower, and it is sometimes undrinkable.
Origin and Causes
Groundwater is stored between layers of some rocks due to the leakage of the surface water. It is also replenished from rivers or streams. Groundwater is evenly distributed across the area (Lutgens et al., 2011). Due to its long life cycle, it is seen as a certain kind of a reservoir.
Impact of the Human Activities
As has been mentioned above, the Central Valley aquifers contain a vast amount of water and can be regarded as a valuable water reservoir. However, irrigation and improper water management have led to the significant water depletion (Scanlon et al., 2015). At that, the aquifers are also artificially replenished from surface water, which may be an important water management tool that will eventually help control the level of groundwater in the area (Esnault et al., 2014).
The Central Valley aquifers are of great economic significance to the agricultural sector of the state as well as the entire country. It has been estimated that groundwater stored in the Central Valley aquifers contributes around 7% to the agricultural revenue of the USA (Esnault et al., 2014). Apart from agriculture, the water is consumed by households. This is a valuable reservoir of water especially during periods of droughts.
Shoreline Feature: Cape Cod
Cape Cod is a shoreline feature located in the northeast of the USA. It extends into the Atlantic Ocean and is regarded as a barrier island that protects the mainland from such natural disasters as hurricanes or storms (Lutgens et al., 2011). It has quite a rich ecosystem, which is negatively affected by hurricanes as well as anthropogenic factors (Bertness & Coverdale, 2013).
Origin and Causes
Cape Cod was formed by outwash plains and moraine around 20,000 years ago. The formation of the cape is associated with the move of ice and the changes in the seal level (Miller, 2015). It is possible to note that it formed and changed due to land erosion in some areas and creation of sediment deposits in other places.
Impact of the Human Activities
Cape Cod is characterized by quite a significant human activity. There are a number of villages and towns, which is associated with the construction of various objects such as roads, bridges, ports, buildings and so on. However, it is possible to note that the human activity has a very limited effect on the changes that occur in Cape Cod’s shoreline (especially as compared to such factors as tides, sea level changes, hurricanes, winds and so on). Colwell (2010) notes that the major effect is apparent in the ecosystem of the cape.
Protection of the Shoreline
First, there are various laws and regulations that prohibit any construction, excavation in the cape and alteration of the shoreline. Furthermore, the cape is protected through the use of a net of seawalls, stone revetments, sand drift fencing, and so on (Miller, 2015).
Description of the Plate Boundary
Cape Cod coincides with the edge of passive continental margins. The continental plates converge in the area, which has shaped the shoreline (Miller, 2015). It is necessary to add that it is a typical feature associated with capes across the globe.
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Bertness, M., & Coverdale, T. (2013). An invasive species facilitates the recovery of salt marsh ecosystems on Cape Cod. Ecology, 94(9), 1937-1943.
Colwell, M. (2010). Shorebird ecology, conservation, and management. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Esnault, L., Gleeson, T., Wada, Y., Heinke, J., Gerten, D., Flanary, E.,…Van Beek, L.P.H. (2014). Linking groundwater use and stress to specific crops using the groundwater footprint in the Central Valley and High Plains aquifer systems, U.S. Water Resources Research, 50(6), 4953-4973.
Kauahikaua, J.P., & Tilling, R.I. (2015). Natural hazards and risk reduction in Hawai’i. In M.P. Poland, T.J. Takahashi, & C.M. Landowski (Eds.), Characteristics of Hawaiian volcanoes (pp. 397-438). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Lutgens, F., Tarbuck, E., & Tasa, D.G. (2011). Essentials of geology. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Miller, W.J. (2015). Geology: The science of the Earth’s crust. New York, NY: P.F. Collier & Son Company.
Poland, M.P., Miklius, A., & Montgomery-Brown, E.K. (2015). Magma supply, storage, and transport at shield-stage Hawaiian volcanoes. In M.P. Poland, T.J. Takahashi, & C.M. Landowski (Eds.), Characteristics of Hawaiian volcanoes (pp. 179-237). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Scanlon, B., Faunt, C., Longuevergne, L., Reedy, R., Alley, W., McGuire, V., & McMahon, P. (2012). Groundwater depletion and sustainability of irrigation in the US High Plains and Central Valley. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(24), 9320-9325.
Scanlon, B., Longuevergne, L., & Long, D. (2012). Ground referencing GRACE satellite estimates of groundwater storage changes in the California Central Valley, USA. Water Resources Research,48(4), 1-9.