An earthquake is something all of us dread. An earthquake happens when the rock underground breaks and that sudden burst of energy causes seismic waves. But, earthquakes can also be caused by other factors that can be natural or artificial. To put it simply an earthquake is described as a seismic activity that is caused naturally or artificially that generates seismic waves. Earthquakes have different intensities, there are ones you can’t even feel while others shake the earth violently destroying entire cities. Even though earthquakes are largely seen as natural disasters, they are also at the same time one of earth’s natural balance mechanisms. We as humans do need to remember that it isn’t our part to control nature and that she does what she wants. Earthquakes because of this have their own set of negatives and positives. So, let’s see what the good and bad sides of earthquakes are.
Positive effects of an earthquake:
- Insight for geologists:
The subterranean parts of the earth are really hard to explore because mining through various geographic variations and through magma is really hard and in some cases it is out right impossible, especially with the current state of technology. Earthquakes however provide a glimpse into how these regions might look like. Geologists can predict the type of material in these regions by seeing how the vibrations pass though those materials. Because of earthquakes geologists are better able to understand how the deeper reaches of the earth might be. These help geologists predict water aquifers, natural gas deposits, oil deposits and other important resources. They can also in some cases find the density of the deposits. This makes natural resource extraction more efficient.
- Brings valuable minerals above the ground:
The shift of the tectonic plates can either force portions of earth to sink down or move upward due to this process of shift in the tectonic plates there is a shift in the arrangement of rocks, which results in a shift of the mineral and ore deposits. This movement of earth sometimes pushes mineral or metal rich deposits close to the surface of the earth that makes mining them a lot easier. Such a shift in tectonic plates can also shift other resources like fossil fuels and makes them easier to extract. Fossil fuels like natural gas, petroleum and so on also might get pushed up or made more accessible because of earthquakes.
- Maintaining planetary balance:
Earthquakes and volcanic activity are two major ways through which the earth restores its balance. Soil, minerals and other material constantly are either pulled down to the molten layers or brought up to the surface where they harden. This process recycles what is on earth and allows the planet to maintain a life sustaining balance. Without these processes there would be no land masses to live in the first place.
Negative effects of an earthquake:
- Destruction to property:
Earthquakes at the end of the day are still natural disasters and with good reason. A powerful earthquake can cause large scale damage to property that is not only is going to cost a ton of money to fix but it is also going to affect the economies that rely on these properties. An earthquake can tear down entire cities and bring them down to rubble. The 2011 earthquake in japan that led to the Fukushima nuclear plants failing and also left parts of the country in complete disrepair for quite a while, was expected to cost $232 billion to repair. For a lot of developing and underdeveloped countries that would be a complete blow that they could never recover from. The destruction to property can come through many different forms such as floods, tsunamis, the earthquake itself. The damages can also range from minor damage to infrastructure to complete destruction and massive loss of life. It could bring economies crumbling down in a few short moments. Basic infrastructure such as power lines, water pipes etc. will all be damages making it harder to get back up and running.
- Damage and Loss of life:
Earthquakes can wipe out large populations very easily. The loss of life affects people at an emotional level and there is also a huge loss in human resources that are also very essential to running a country. Earthquakes can kill people in multiple different ways. Tsunamis and floods can follow earthquakes and they can wipe large populations instantly. Earthquakes themselves cause large scale destruction such as collapsing buildings and bringing down homes and other major infrastructure. People also get lost and many are left homeless and a lot of people also need immediate medical attention after an earthquake. The aftermath is quite horrendous.