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geoscience

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah The famous Portuguese Bend landslide in the summer of 1956, when people noticed that the ground beneath them had begun to move, remind us of the potential of such forces to move the ground (Figure, a). It is estimated that a 105-hectare (260-acre) section of the slope was breaking free at a rate of about 2.5 centimetres per day, and also carrying Portuguese Bend with it. However, by 1961, the rate had slowed to about 1 centimetre per day, but by then it already had destroyed or damaged about 154 homes within the slide area. Similarly,

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah Natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, wildfires, cyclones, droughts, floods etc. continuously pose constant threats to our young, 10,000-years-old, civilization. The devastations of Sumatra and Thai coasts in 2004, of Kashmir and New Orleans in 2005, of southwest Java in 2006, of Sumatra again in 2007, western Sichuan and Myanmar in 2008, of Haiti in 2010, Japan, New Zealand and Turkey in 2011, brought about colossal damage in terms of death and destruction. The Hurricane Katrina and Rita, floods in Pakistan, forest fires in Russia, drought in East Africa, and numerous landslides and mudflow; for example

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah As I have discussed in my previous article, that through the vast amount of evidences obtained from the earthquakes waves, meteorites, which fall on Earth, magnetic fields, some rare exposures of the deeper section of the Earth’s layers, and other physiochemical properties demonstrate that Earth is made up of three major layers, the crust, the mantle and the core. This stratification within the Earth was achieved through differentiation, which is a process by which materials are arranged in a sequence according to their densities. The Earth’s uppermost layer, the Crust is lighter and less dense. It

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah The Earth’s internal structure is mostly studied through indirect means because the deepest hole though the Earth can only be drilled down to a few kilometers. This is because of the prevailing complex physiochemical conditions within the Earth and the lack of a robust scientific gear to drill down to the greater depths. This however is changing with the help of latest drilling techniques and it seems possible that within a decade scientists will be able to investigate the deeper portions of the Earth. Geologists are trying to study the deep interiors of the Earth, because

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah During any earthquake a large amount of strain energy is released, which travels as waves in all directions through the layers of the Earth, reflecting and refracting at each interface. The waves are called seismic waves or earthquake waves. These are similar to sounds waves, which are created through a disturbance in materials (media), for example when we talk to anyone, our voice disturbs the air and the energy is carried away from us towards the listener. This carries energy away from its point of origin. Similarly, when we throw a pebble in a pond, it

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah Some of the past earthquakes, which have been followed by tsunamis have been of the magnitude 9.0 (1952), of Kamchatka, the magnitude 9.1 (1957), of Andrean of Islands, Alaska, the magnitude 9.5 (1960) Chile, and the magnitude 9.2 (1964), Prince William Sound, Alaska. However; the scale of destruction and the damage caused by these quakes was far less than the destruction which followed the 26th December, 2004, Aceh-Andaman earthquake and its tsunami. This catastrophe was a warning bell and it changed the perspective of people regarding earthquake dangers in oceans and therefore opened a variety of

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are two of the most dangerous natural disasters, which have resulted in immense loss to life and property. However, several volcanic eruptions have also created some spectacular mountains. It is estimated that about 50 or so volcanoes erupt every year, but, only a few severely disrupt human activities. In my previous articles, I had discussed earthquakes and here I will shed some light on the genesis of volcanoes and how they affect us and the environment. Before the advent of the plate tectonic theory, various geological phenomenons were speculated for centuries together

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah Earthquakes continuously pose unremitting threats to our young, 10,000-year-old, civilization. There are ample evidences to map a complete profile of vulnerabilities, which we have been facing in the recent past. The devastations of Acehnese and Thai coasts in 2004, of Kashmir and New Orleans in 2005, of southwest Java in 2006, of Sumatra again in 2007, western Sichuan and Myanmar in 2008, of Haiti in 2010, Japan, New Zealand and Turkey, in 2011, comprise an unremitting event of death and destruction. These disasters remind us of a desperate need to understand the basics of Earthquake Science

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By Afroz Ahmad Shah The geological records tell us that Earth is about 4.5 to 4.6 billion years old. This number is calculated by various vigorous scientific investigations, which deal with the dating of minerals and other records preserved within rocks. Accordingly, Earth has been divided into several geological time periods. Throughout its past, it has witnessed a number of changes, both minor and major, which are present within the rock strata. Geologists have studied these strata over decades and decoded the conditions of their formation and deposition. These strata also preserve evidences of faunal and floral changes. It has

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The disastrous tsunamis and earthquakes trigger inquiry and inspire fear in us to understand the earth. It was only recently, when some of these events shook the world out of the torpor that it was in. Now, we are curious to understand the system and its integration with the other systems. But, how far have we been successful in achieving all that. I will quote an Indian example, a country with over a billion population, is prone to almost all kinds of natural disasters, still the geo-science education is poorly represented in schools, colleges and universities. India has no earth

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