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Hazardous Earth: How our planet is trying to kill us

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Julian Willis.

The surface of the Earth consists of a finite number of rigid interlocking plates. The internal engine of the Earth which drives all dynamic processes inside the Earth ensures that these plates are constantly moving relative to each other. The model that describes the incessant motion of these plates is the theory of plate tectonics.

All geological hazards on Earth are directly or indirectly a result of the motion of the plates. Over the course of human civilisations millions of lives have been lost due to three of these hazards: volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. These are the killer three. The focus of this talk will be on these three natural events.

Although not the main aim of the talk, I will briefly discuss the mechanisms by which these events occur and why they occur in the places they do. I will concentrate on the effects of these hazards on human populations. How and why people die in earthquakes. Why do people live near volcanoes? The talk will finish with a discussion of how loss of lives can be prevented/limited.

This talk is part of the Stokes Society, Pembroke College series.

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