Both earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are natural disasters whose occurrences are beyond human control. Since they are caused by forces of nature, human beings can only take precautions to minimize losses arise from them. Beneath the earth’s surface there is energy build up due to the continued stress on the rocks. Moreover, energy may also build up when these rocks are deformed.
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When disturbed by events such as volcanic activity, a wave called seismic wave occurs. When released suddenly in the crust of the earth, this energy may cause slow to violent shaking of the earth’s surface. This shaking of the earth’s surface is called earthquake and make cause various hazards depending on the intensity of the shaking.
Since the energy is mainly derived from the sustained stress and deformation of the underlying rocks, the precursor signals of earthquakes especially in seismic zones are majorly based on the careful study of the earth’s surface. These signals include any changes in the ground and water levels.
Moreover, any change in the electrical conductivity of conductors is also a major indicator of earthquakes as this indicates an increased magnitude of the seismic waves. The recurrence intervals of earthquakes are difficult to map out with accuracy since the events that lead to earthquakes occur deep within the earth’s surface. One is only able to monitor the seismic activities and predict an earthquake.
Volcanic eruptions are mainly characterized by release of gases, magma, and dust among other materials from the vents of volcanic mountains. These materials usually originate from the deeper layers of the earth’s surface but find their way out through vents or fissures of the volcanoes. Such eruptions are usually caused by pressure release from the mantle of the volcano.
The pressure results from the circulation of the hot magma in the mantle. When released, the pressure forces magma, ash, dust and gases among other materials into the atmosphere and the surrounding areas.
Even though the recurrence intervals of volcanic eruptions especially the active ones are difficult to predict, the occurrence of an eruption can be predicted by measuring the gases released by the volcanoes, ground changes and deformation and also changes in the temperatures of the waters on the crater lakes.
Both earthquakes and eruptions cause loss of lives and damage of properties including roads, hospitals and other vital infrastructures. They can also be a source of cause and spread of diseases. They both damage sewer lines and plants and cause flooding which can lead to spread of pathogens. Moreover, the ashes and gases from volcanic eruptions may cause severe respiratory and skin diseases to humans.
As the volcanic materials burn and smoother everything on their way like earthquakes, acres of food crops are destroyed leading to food insecurity and its associated consequences. Due to their nature, human beings can only reduce the losses that occur but not prevent earthquakes and eruptions. Such mitigation measures such as measuring of precursor signals and early warnings have saved many lives.
Moreover, evacuation of individuals to safer or higher grounds before these disasters and emergency disaster preparedness services such stocking of food, medicine, water and other basic needs will go a long way in saving lives.
The first response strategies for both disasters is usually evacuation of individuals to safer grounds, provision of medical care to the injured and provision of basic needs to all victims. Thus, the mitigation measures of both eruption and earthquake are the same.