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Free «Monitoring Our Home Planet» Essay Sample

There exist such natural disasters and phenomena as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, and hurricanes. The rising number of natural disasters forced people all over the world to develop ways and means of thoroughly monitoring these phenomena. This has helped in reporting possible future accidents to the public (Alexander, 2006).

The reports inform people where and when certain natural phenomena are likely to occur. Therefore, the public will take precautions like vacating the places of the predicted accident. The disseminated information about possible future calamities, such natural phenomenon, also helps the government to prepare for these disasters. This paper is going to examine the three natural phenomena - earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. The paper will further identify their common places of occurrence. In addition, the paper analyzes ways through which websites monitor natural disasters. The analysis will include topics, such as resources, geography, economic and political issues, and disaster preparedness.



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A natural disaster can be defined as an outcome of a natural phenomenon. Some of these disasters include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. These natural disasters lead to human, environmental, and financial losses.  Earthquakes are caused by rapid release of energy in the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves (Blaikie &Cannon, 2011). Earthquakes cause shaking, vibration and even displacement of the land. The common causes of earthquakes are nuclear tastes, landslides, volcanic activities and mine blasts.

Earthquakes cause harm due to their secondary effects. Through these effects, earthquakes kill people, wildlife and destroy a lot of property. The secondary effects include accidents like volcanoes, collapse of buildings and tsunamis. Plenty of earthquakes have occurred in the world history. Some of the notable ones include the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011. This earthquake took 13,000 human lives while 12,000 people went missing. The Chile earthquake in 2010 took 525 lives. In China in 2008, 61,150 people died due to the Sichuan earthquake. The Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan 2005 took 79,000 lives. In 2004, 229,000 people died due to the Indian Ocean earthquake (Blaikie &Cannon, 2011).

Occurrence of Tsunamis

Tsunamis, on the other hand, are mostly caused by undersea earthquakes. They can also be caused by landslides. In the world history, one of the tsunamis occurred in Alaska at Lituya Bay. That tsunami was caused by landslides.  In 2004, the undersea earthquakes caused a tsunami in Thailand at Ao Nang. In 2010, another tsunami occurred in Indonesia at Sumatra. The most recent occurrence of a tsunami was on March 11, 2011 in Japan at Fukushima. These latest tsunami spread far and wide through the Pacific Ocean (Bankoff & Frerks, 2011).

Occurrence of Volcanic Eruptions

Another kind of natural disasters is volcanic eruptions. Volcanic activities can cause eruptions especially on top of volcanic mountains. Some of the volcanic eruptions are rather hazardous due to the contents released in the process. Huge rocks may be released which may hurt people, wildlife and destroy property. Lava may be released and this may destroy plants, buildings and even kill people. The volcanic ash released during the eruptions can be dangerous to human beings when inhaled because it contains harmful chemicals. Places, which have experienced the hazardous effects of volcanic eruptions, include Pompeii, Tangiwai (1953), and Armero (1985) (Bankoff & Frerks, 2011). In the Armero tragedy, the town was buried and roughly 23000 people died. Volcanic eruptions also cause global effect especially a super volcano.  

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Emerging Issues on Natural Phenomena

The number of natural disasters has been rising gradually during the recent decades. As a result, governments and individuals have embarked on monitoring these natural phenomena. Different stakeholders are monitoring the natural phenomena using various websites. These monitoring systems and websites exist both in developed and developing countries. This is because both parties have been affected by these natural disasters in one way or another.

Some of the monitoring systems have created resources to collect information about the natural disasters.  A good example is a center for satellite based crisis information. This center provides processing and analyzing images depicting environmental and natural phenomena. There are also free programs that allow people to monitor disasters around the world. Global alert coordination and disaster alert provide warnings of natural cataclysms and tools to facilitate response coordination (Lee, 2008). This monitored information concerning natural disasters is then uploaded on the websites for people to view and be informed.

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There are also various websites with natural phenomena information. Alert Net website covers information on disasters, conflicts and climate changes. After the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Internet activist mobilized and set web software that helped people share information during accidents. The Ushahidi website, started in Kenya, has been mobilized and used in different parts of the world during disasters. An example of the Ushahidi website version was used during the Haiti earthquake. This website provided the Haiti community with tools to crowd source information via e-mail, Twitter, SMS and the Web. These systems and web sites have been used mostly in developed countries. Nevertheless, the use of technology is growing in the developing nations. The developing nations such as Kenya are now making use of this technology. A good example is the Ushahidi website (Bankoff & Frerks, 2011).


Developed countries are usually better prepared for disasters and their consequences than the less developed countries. Conversely, the less developed countries tend to experience much of these natural phenomena activities. A good example is Asia and the Pacific regions where many developing countries are situated. The natural disasters happening in these places are attributed to environmental degradation (Alexander, 2006).  Governments do not fund the projects of the natural disasters prevention due to the countries’ poor level of economy. On the contrary, the developed nations allocate part of budget for those projects and, therefore, are better prepared.  The less developed nations have less effective or ineffective facilities to establish structures that can deal with the consequences of natural disasters. When the natural disasters occur they tend to have a greater impact on the economic and social state of the less developed nations (Alexander, 2006).   


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