Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent
Ever since the earth was inhabited, humans and other life forms have depended on things that exist freely in nature to survive. These things include water (seas and fresh water), land, soils, rocks, forests (vegetation), animals (including fish), fossil fuels and minerals. They are called Natural Resources and are the basis of life on earth.
All these mentioned above are natural, and they exist in nature. We tap into their supply to survive and also to function properly. Natural resources are all connected in a way. Therefore if one is taken away, it will affect the supply or quality of all others. For example, if water is eliminated from an area, the vegetation, soils, animals and even the air in that area will be affected negatively.
Natural resources can be consumed directly or indirectly. For instance, humans depend directly on forests for food, biomass, health, recreation and increased living comfort. Indirectly forests act as climate control, flood control, storm protection and nutrient cycling.
Natural resources are available to sustain the very complex interaction between living things and non-living things. Humans also benefit immensely from this interaction. All over the world, people consume resources directly or indirectly. Developed countries consume resources more than under-developed countries.
The world economy uses around 60 billion tonnes of resources each year to produce the goods and services which we all consume. On the average, a person in Europe consumes about 36kg of resources per day; a person in North America consumes about 90kg per day, a person in Asia consumes about 14kg and a person in Africa consumes about 10kg of resources per day.
In what form do people consume natural resources? The three major forms include Food and drink, Housing and infrastructure, and Mobility. These three make up more than 60% of resource use.
Natural resources are not evenly distributed all over the world. Some places are more endowed that others — for instance, some regions have lots of water (and access to ocean and seas). Others have lots of minerals and forestlands. Others have metallic rocks, wildlife, fossil fuels and so on.
Crude oil is another important natural resource. From Crude oil, we get many petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and gas. We use these to fuel our cars and provide energy to warm and cool our homes. But Crude oil is not evenly distributed all over the world.
Threats to Natural Resources
This is probably the most significant, single threat that natural resources face. The world’s population is increasing at a very fast rate.
Land Use: With more mouths to feed and people to house, more land will need to be cultivated and developed for housing. More farming chemicals will be applied to increase food production. Many forest or vegetative lands will be converted to settlements for people, roads and farms. These have serious repercussions on natural resources.
Forests: Demand for wood (timber), food, roads and forest products will be more. People will therefore use more forest resources than they can naturally recover.
Fishing: Fresh water and sea food will face problems too as we will continue to depend heavily on them. Bigger fishing companies are going deeper into sea to catch fish in even larger quantities. Some of the fishing methods they use are not sustainable, thereby destroying much more fish and sea creatures in the process.
Need for more: Human’s demand for a comfortable life means more items (communication, transport, education, entertainment and recreation) will need to be produced. This means more industrial processes and more need for raw materials and natural resources.
B. Climate Change
The alteration in climate patterns as a result of excessive anthropogenic is hurting biodiversity and many other abiotic natural resources. Species that have acclimatized to their environments may perish and others will have to move to more favorable conditions to survive.
C. Environmental Pollution
Land, water and air pollution directly affect the health of the environments in which they occur. Pollution affects the chemical make-up of soils, rocks, lands, ocean water, freshwater and underground water, and other natural phenomena. This often has catastrophic consequences.
The various types of natural resources are often categorizes as renewable and non-renewable resources.
A renewable resource is a substance of economic value that can be replaced or replenished in the same or less amount of time as it takes to draw the supply down. Some renewable resources have essentially an endless supply, such as solar energy, wind energy and geothermal pressure, while other resources are considered renewable even though some time or effort must go into their renewal, such as wood, oxygen, leather and fish. Most precious metals are considered renewable as well; even though they are not naturally replaced, they can be recycled because they are not destroyed during their extraction and use.
A renewable resource is different from a non-renewable resource, as once a nonrenewable resource is used, it is depleted and cannot be recovered. As the human population continues to rise, the demand for renewable resources increases.
Types of Renewable Resources
Natural resources are a form of equity, and they’re known as natural capital. Biofuel, or energy made from renewable organic products, has gained prevalence in recent years as an alternative energy source to nonrenewable resources such as coal, oil and natural gas. Although prices are still higher for biofuel, the growing scarcity of fossil fuels will result in higher prices, due to supply and demand, and will make the price of biofuel more competitive. Some types of biofuel include biodiesel, an alternative to oil, and green diesel, which is made from algae and other plants. Other renewable resources include oxygen and solar energy. Wind and water can also be used to create renewable energy. For example, windmills harness the wind’s natural power and turn it into energy.
Global Impact of Renewable Resources
Renewable resources have become a focal point of the environmental movement, both politically and economically. Energy obtained from renewable resources puts much less strain on the limited supply of fossil fuels, which are non-renewable resources. The problem with using renewable resources on a large scale is that they are costly, and in most cases, more research is needed to make their use cost-effective.
Adopting sustainable energy is often referred to as “going green,” due to the impact on the environment. Energy sources such as fossil fuels damage the environment when burned, leading to global warming and climate change. The first major international accord to curb carbon dioxide emissions and global warming was the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997. More recently, global powers met in Paris in 2015 to pledge emissions reductions and focus on higher reliance on renewable resources for energy.
To encourage the use of renewable resources, there are many incentives for using alternative energy. For example, energy taxes put a surcharge on fossil fuels so that the prices of renewable resources are more competitive, and people will be more inclined to switch over. Green funds support eco-friendly and sustainable companies by investing in them, helping to promote environmental awareness.
A non-renewable resource is one that either does not regenerate or does not regenerate quickly enough to serve some human purpose in a sustainable way.
The most common examples of non-renewable resources are fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Although these resources form naturally within the earth, they take billions of years to do so. Other non-renewable resources include metals, minerals and stone.
Resources considered renewable are those that are readily replenished such as solar, geothermal, wind and tidal energy. Energy derived from such sources is often called green power or clean electricity because it doesn’t deplete non-renewable resources or cause pollution.
Some resources, although they regenerate, do not do so very quickly and are in danger of depletion in many locations because of overuse. There is some disagreement over whether such resources as wood and potable water are, in a practical sense, renewable.
Nonrenewable resources are used worldwide to create electricity, heat homes, power vehicles and manufacture goods. Resources are considered nonrenewable if their quantities are limited or if they cannot be replaced as fast as they are used up. Some nonrenewable resources have been formed over millions of years and will eventually be depleted altogether.
Oil, or petroleum, comes from the liquified, fossilized remains of plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago; once oil sources are depleted, they cannot be replaced. Oil is an energy source that the U.S. is very much dependent upon. It is used to create fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. It is also used in the manufacturing of plastics and industrial chemicals. Much of our oil is imported, creating a dependency on sources that are unpredictable and costly. The environmental impacts of mining oil include threats to waterways, plants and wildlife due to oil spills and increased infrastructure in natural areas. The impacts of oil combustion include air pollution, smog and increased greenhouse gas emissions.
Coal is the most plentiful nonrenewable resource in the world and is used to create more than half of the electricity in the world. Coal is made when plant material has been compressed in bogs for millions of years. The extraction of coal from surface and sub-surface mines creates numerous problems for humans and the environment. Sub-surface mines are dangerous for miners as tunnels can collapse and built-up gas can explode. They also create subsidence, meaning that the ground level lowers when the coal is removed. Surface mining, or strip-mining, causes erosion and water pollution and decreases biodiversity by reducing plant and animal habitats. Additionally, the combustion of coal contributes to air pollution and global climate change and creates a toxic ash as a byproduct.
Natural gas is the result of decomposing plants and animals that were trapped beneath rock millions of years ago. This gas is drilled from the ground or extracted using dynamite and then processed and piped through thousands of miles of pipelines for cooking, heating homes and fueling vehicles. (See References 2) Though natural gas is considered to be a relatively “clean” fossil fuel, the environmental impacts of extracting it and installing pipelines include severe disruption of wildlife habitat and groundwater contamination.
Although nuclear energy is often held up as a viable alternative to coal and oil, it is not a renewable energy source. Nuclear power requires uranium, a radioactive metallic element that must be mined from the earth and is not quickly replenished. Nuclear energy does not create air pollution though combustion like fossil fuels. It does, however, produce radioactive waste, which must be disposed of and which can cause problems for humans and ecosystems for thousands of years. Additionally, accidents and leaks from nuclear power plants can have catastrophic effects on the entire planet.
Distribution of resources varied:
Since natural resources often need specific conditions in which to form, they are not distributed evenly across the world. Coal, for example, is usually found in areas which were originally swampland during the greatest coal-forming era in history.
Since the distribution of natural resources is varied, it is common for some countries to be abundant in one type of natural resource and for other countries to have many different types but with only a small supply.
Countries often export the natural resources that they have an abundance of and import those which they are in need of.
Resources are distributed unequally over the earth because of the different natural conditions, level of development, etc.
Consequences of uneven disribution of resources
1. War and Conflict
3. Economic Activities
4. Human Settlement
People tend to settle and cluster in places that have the resources they need to survive and thrive.
Things that Influence:
Distribution of key natural resources in the world:
Natural resources are not evenly distributed all over the world. Some places are more endowed that others — for instance, some regions have lots of water (and access to ocean and seas). Others have lots of minerals and forestlands. Others have metallic rocks, wildlife, fossil fuels and so on.
For example, The US has the world’s largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world’s total. Australia is the world’s largest net exporter of coal accounting for 29% of global coal exports.
China remains the largest producer of gold with a 14% share of the global production. The United States, Russia, and Canada are the leading producers of timber and pulp. Annual exports of primary and secondary wood products from tropical forests have exceeded US$ 20 billion in recent years and further increases are anticipated.
Many countries have developed their economies by using their natural resources. Some also get a lot of income from their resources in the form of tourism and recreation. Brazil and Peru for example, make a lot of money from The Amazon Forests, which is super diverse in trees and animals.
Crude oil is another important natural resource. From Crude oil, we get many petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and gas. We use these to fuel our cars and provide energy to warm and cool our homes. But Crude oil is not evenly distributed all over the world. Below is an illustration of how much each region of the world produces.
International and local trade has its roots in the fact that resources are not evenly distributed on the earth’s surface. Regions with crude oil can drill oil and sell to regions without oil, and also buy resources such as timber and precious metals (gold, diamonds and silver) from other regions that have them in abundance.
The uneven distribution is also the root of power and greed in many regions. Some countries use their wealth in resources to control and manipulate regions with fewer resources. Some countries and regions have even gone to war over the management, ownership, allocation, use and protection of natural resources and related ecosystems.
Australia natural resources
Australia is a leading producer of minerals for the world and produces 19 minerals in significant amounts from nearly 400 operating mines. Minerals are produced in all states, the Northern Territory and Christmas Island. There is no mining in the Australian Capital Territory apart from quarries used to mine aggregate and other construction materials.
Minerals are an important part of the Australian economy, accounting for ten per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012-13. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that at June 2012 the mining industry employed around 266 000 people directly.
Minerals are Australia’s largest export. Australian mining companies trade freely in the global marketplace, exporting goods on a commercial basis around the world with principal markets in China, Japan, South Korea and India.
Australia is one of the top mineral producers in the world and has a large resource inventory of most of the world’s key minerals commodities. Australia is the world’s leading producer of bauxite,ilmenite, iron ore, rutile and zircon; the second largest producer of gold, lead, lithium, manganese ore and zinc; the third largest producer of uranium; the fourth largest producer of black coal (also the largest exporter), nickel and silver; and the fifth largest producer of cobalt, copper and diamond.
Australia has the world’s largest resources of gold, iron ore, lead, nickel, rutile, uranium, zinc and zircon as well as the second largest resources of bauxite, cobalt, copper, ilmenite, niobium, silver, tantalum and thorium. Australia’s resources of black coal, brown coal, magnesite, tungsten, lithium, manganese ore, rare earths and vanadium are ranked in the top five in the world.
Compared to many countries, Australia has a comparative advantage in the production of mineral commodities. This stems from a rich and diverse mineral endowment, high quality regional-scale geoscience information which lowers the risks of exploration, advanced exploration, mining and processing technologies, a skilled work force, generally benign physical conditions and low population density. These factors mean that modern mining can be undertaken in line with increasing community expectations for environmental and social performance.
Africa natural resources
The export of forest products, especially high-grade woods like mahogany and okoume, brings in significant revenue. These woods are mostly found in the countries of the Congo Basin—Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea—where there is a dense rain forest. Okoume, for example, accounts for 90 percent of the trees logged in Gabon. These woods are generally exported to Japan, Israel, and the European Union. Mahogany and okoume are used to make everything from homes to musical instruments to lightweight aircraft.
Africa’s fishing industry provides income to more than 10 million people and has an annual export value of $2.7 billion. Africa has fisheries on all its marinecoasts, as well as inland. The Great Lakes and Nile River, for instance, support huge freshwater fisheries.
Africa is a major producer of important metals and minerals. Metals exported by African countries include uranium, used to produce nuclear energy; platinum, used in jewelry and industrial applications; nickel, used in stainless steel, magnets, coins, and rechargeable batteries; bauxite, a main aluminum ore; and cobalt, used in color pigments.
Africa’s two most profitable mineral resources are gold and diamonds. In 2008, Africa produced about 483 tons of gold, or 22 percent of the world’s total production. South Africa accounts for almost half of Africa’s gold production. Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and Tanzania are other major producers of gold.
Africa dominates the global diamond market. In 2008, the continent produced 55 percent of the world’s diamonds. Botswana, Angola, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Namibia are Africa’s largest producers of diamonds.
Unfortunately, several African conflicts and civil wars have been caused and funded by the diamond industry. Diamonds that come from these regions are known as conflict diamonds or blood diamonds.
Africa’s natural resource economy contributes greatly to the continent’s built environment, or human-made buildings and structures. The largest engineering projects and urban areas are directly linked to the production and trade of resources such as water, oil, and minerals. Yet much like the resource economies described above, Africa’s infrastructure suffers from poor management and inefficient government regulation.
Asia Natural Resources
Extractive activities are an important part of the economies of many Asian countries. China, India, Russia, and Indonesia are the continent’s most productive mining economies. These countries extract many of the same minerals.
China is the world’s largest producer of aluminum, gold, tin, and coal. India is also a major producer of aluminum and iron ore, along with other minerals such as barite (used in drilling fluids), chromium (used in steel production and dyes), and manganese (used in steel production). Russia is a major producer of coal, tungsten (used in steel production), diamonds, iron, and steel. Indonesia is a major producer of coal, gold, copper, and tin.
Countries on the Arabian Peninsula have the world’s largest deposits of oiland natural gas. These fossil fuels are drilled for energy and fuel, and make the region one of the most important in the international economy. The oil found throughout the Arabian Peninsula and Middle East is of the highest quality: light sweet crude. Light sweet crude oil is used to make gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuels. It is in constant demand throughout the developed world.
In 2010, Saudi Arabia was the world’s largest manufacturer of petroleum liquids, producing 10.07 million barrels of liquid fuels every day. (An oil barrel is 159 liters, or 42 gallons.) It also has the world’s largest oil reserves, at roughly 250 billion barrels. Saudi Arabia’s economy is heavily dependent on oil exports, which account for 80 to 90 percent of the country’s total revenues. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates accounted for roughly 57 percent of global liquid fuels production in 2010.
Another major player in Asia’s liquid fuels industry is Russia. Russia has oil reserves in Siberia, and massive natural gas reserves throughout the Arctic. Russia is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe. Russia has not aggressively drilled in the Arctic Ocean, but engineers say the area holds millions of barrels of oil and gas reserves.
China’s Natural Resources
Mineral resources include large reserves of coal and iron ore, plus adequate to abundant supplies of nearly all other industrial minerals. Besides being a major coal producer, China is one of the world’s largest producers of gold and the world’s largest producer of antimony, natural graphite, aluminum, steel, rare earths, barite, zinc and tungsten; and the third largest producer in the world of iron ore. Other major minerals are bauxite, coal, crude petroleum, diamonds, gold, iron ore, lead, magnetite, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, natural gas, phosphate rock, tin, uranium, and vanadium. China also exports large amounts of tin, coals and a number of industrial minerals and is the world’s largest consumer of steel.
China is one of the world’s largest exporters of magnesium. This quite an achievement, considering that in the early 1980s it produced hardly any. One expert on China said: “Much of China’s mineral potential is unexploited because of inadequate technology.” Outdated mining and ore-processing technologies are being replaced with modern techniques, but China’s rapid industrialization requires imports of minerals from abroad. In particular, iron ore imports from Australia and the United States have soared in the early 2000s as steel production rapidly outstripped domestic iron ore production. The mining sector accounted for less than 0.9 percent of total employment in 2002 but produced about 5.3 percent of total industrial production.
The major areas of production in 2004 were coal (nearly 2 billion tons), iron ore (310 million tons), crude petroleum (175 million tons), natural gas (41 million cubic meters), antimony ore (110,000 tons), tin concentrates (110,000 tons), nickel ore (64,000 tons), tungsten concentrates (67,000 tons), unrefined salt (37 million tons), vanadium (40,000 tons), and molybdenum ore (29,000 tons). In order of magnitude, bauxite, gypsum, barite, magnesite, talc and related minerals, manganese ore, fluorspar, and zinc also were important. In addition, China produced 2,450 tons of silver and 215 tons of gold in 2004.
China accounts for 30 percent of the world’s supply of phosphates, essential for fertilizer.
Mineral Resources of India
India is gifted with important mineral resources. The country produces about 89 minerals out of which 52 are non-metallic, 4 are fuel minerals, 11 are metallic, and 22 are minor minerals.
The value of the total India mineral production in the year 2000-2001 stood at Rs. 568070 million excluding the value of petroleum and natural gas.
India happens to be the largest producer of mica blocks in the world. India has also recently grabbed the second position as far as chromite production goes. Due to the recent spurt in the demand for chromite across the world the country has really managed to accelerate its production.
India holds the 3rd rank in case of coal & lignite production, 2nd rank in case of barites production, 4th in case of iron ore, 5th in case of bauxite and crude steel, 7th in case of manganese ore and 8th position in case of aluminum production.
The Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited or MECL is the company which is responsible for exploring various minerals and ores using the processes of drilling and exploratory mining. It is a public sector company which takes up exploration for both the Government of India and other agencies on a contractual basis. According to the Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited, India has still not fully explored its rich mineral wealth.
Minerals provide the material used to make most of the things of industrial- based society; roads, cars, computers, fertilizers, etc. Demand for minerals is increasing world wide as the population increases and the consumption demands of individual people increase. The mining of earth’s natural resources is, there¬fore accelerating, and it has accompanying environmental consequences.
Types of Mineral Resources:
Minerals in general have been categorized into three classes’ fuel, metallic and non-metallic. Fuel minerals like coal, oil and natural gas have been given prime importance as they account for nearly 87% of the value of mineral production whereas metallic and non-metallic constitutes 6 to 7%.
(A) Fuel Minerals:
Coal, oil and natural gas are the basic fossil fuel. We have good reserves for coal but are very poor in more essential fuel — oils and natural gas.
Proven coal reserves of the country as on January 1994 (estimated by GSI) is about 68 billion tonnes. We are mining about 250 tonnes annually and this rate is expected to go by 400 – 450 tonnes by 2010 A.D. If we could maintain our mining rate of 400 tonnes per year then the coal reserves might last for about 200 years taking proven reserves as 80 billion tonnes.
(ii) Crude Oil (Petroleum):
It is believed that petroleum has been formed over a period of millions of years, through conversion of remains of micro organisms living in sea, into hydrocar¬bon by heat, pressure and catalytic action. The petroleum on fractional distillation and further processing provides us nu¬merous products and by-products. Some of the common products obtained on fractional distillation are given in Table 2.4, along with the temperature (just below the boiling point) at which they tend to liquefy after crude oil feed at the base is heated to about 400°C. One million tonne of crude oil on fractional distil¬lation provides about 0.8 million tonnes of petroleum products.
The percentage composition varies with the quality of crude oil or it could be varied up to a certain limit depending upon the requirement or demand.
India has very poor reserves for petroleum just limited to 700 million tonnes. About 40% of the total consumption of the overall petroleum products of the country is used in road transport sector (in case of diesel, consumption of road transport sector is to the extent of 70% of the total diesel consumption of the country).
Rest 60% of the petroleum products are used in industries including power generation, domestic and for miscellaneous purposes. In view of rapid growth of these vital sectors, the consumption of petroleum products has been increasing consistently over a period of last few years and is bound to increase at rapid pace in near future.
(iii) Natural Gas:
The proven reserve for natural gas on April 1993 works out to be approx. 700 billion cubic meter (BCM). As regard to production vis a vis utilization aspect in earlier years, more than half of gas coming out of the wells remained unutilized. However, in recent years, we have achieved a utilization rate of 80 – 90%. Keeping in view the future demands and proven gas reserves, it is unlikely that our gas reserves might last for more than 20 years.
(B) Metallic and Non-metallic Minerals:
India is poorly endowed with mineral wealth. Except for iron ore and bauxite our share of world reserves of every other mineral is one percent or less. How¬ever, there has been a phenomenal growth in production since independence. As per estimates if the present trend of production continues, we will exhaust our reserves of all the important minerals and fuels, except coal, iron ore, lime¬stone and bauxite, in 25 to 30 years.
Bangladesh mineral resources
Although Bangladesh is a small country, it has a number of mineral resources such as natural gas, oil, coal, hard rock, limestone, white clay, glass sand and mineral sand. At present, natural gas is the only mineral commodity significantly contributing to the national economy.
More than 90% of the country’s energy needs are met by gas, total reserves of which are 21.35 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and 12.43 TCF, respectively. Huge reserves of hard rock (granodiorite, quartzdiorite, gneiss) and coal in northwest Bangladesh will help, in the near future, to meet the growing demand for construction materials and energy for the ever-growing population. Total coal reserves are 1753 million tons (MT), the market value of which is more than US$110 billion. Hard rock reserves are 115 million tons, valued at over US$3 billion. Fully fledged extraction of these resources would help to alleviate the country’s poverty through industrialization. It is expected that coal will soon be extracted on a commercial basis, of which 70 to 80% will be used in power generation.
The mineral resources so far found in Bangladesh are meagre in comparison to its high population. To meet the growing demand of the population, more mineral resources need to be discovered and developed, otherwise sustainable development cannot be achieved. However, it is difficult for developing countries like Bangladesh to carry out the necessary activities for exploration and exploitation of hidden mineral resources without foreign assistance. This is a major drawback for Bangladesh. To progress towards an endurable sustainable society, a nation such as Bangladesh must give priority to the development of its existing mineral resources, which can play a major role in helping to reshape the country’s socio-economic infrastructure.
Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone
Geophysics is the application of physics to study the Earth, oceans, atmosphere and near-Earth space. It is a broad subject that encompasses many of the major sciences – physics, astronomy, planetary science, geology, environmental science, oceanography, and meteorology. Many different scientists from different disciplines class themselves as geophysicists, including seismologists, meteorologists, glaciologists, geomagnetists and geodesists.
Geophysical observations are fundamental to our understanding of the Earth and how it works for and against us. For example, motion in the Earth’s deep core gives rise to our magnetic field, which protects us from harmful solar radiation. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, on the other hand, have the ability destroy on a terrible scale. Geophysics is also fundamental to the needs of society – it is essential for exploring for energy, water, and mineral resources, monitoring environmental impact and change and assessing natural and manmade hazards. It is used in subsurface investigations for engineering and archaeology, as well as in forensic science, such as nuclear test ban treaty verification.
Geophysics is the physics of the Earth – The Earth, beneath our feet, but also the atmosphere, the oceans and the globe’s thick icecaps. The solar system’s earth-like planets also belong within the research area of Geophysics.
Climate Research in the past and the present and research into the solar systems earth-like planets such as Mars, Mercury, the Earth and the moon also make up part of the geophyscical research area. This geophysical research often involves international collaborative projects, where many countries participate.
Natural hazards are naturally occurring physical phenomena caused either by rapid or slow onset events which can be geophysical (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and volcanic activity), hydrological (avalanches and floods), climatological (extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires), meteorological (cyclones and storms/wave surges) or biological (disease epidemics and insect/animal plagues).
Earthquakes are the result of forces deep within the earth’s interior. Sudden break within the upper layers of the earth, sometimes breaking the surface, resulting in the vibration of the ground, which where strong enough will cause the collapse of buildings and destruction of life and property.
They strike with no early warning and can be devastating, but after a major one, aftershocks may be as strong as a new earthquake. Earthquakes usually happens along a fault plate, the border between plates.
Earthquakes often trigger landslides, tidal waves and tsunamis. Powerful aftershocks frequently occur, causing further damage and increasing psychological stress.
Intensity scales, like the Modified Mercalli scale and the Rossi-Forel scale, measure the amount of shaking at a particular location. So the intensity of an earthquake will vary depending on where you are. Sometimes earthquakes are referred to by the maximum intensity they produce.
Magnitude scales, like the Richter magnitude scale and moment magnitude, measure the size of the earthquake at its source. So they do not depend on where the measurement is made. Often, several slightly different magnitudes are reported for an earthquake. This happens because the relation between the seismic measurements and the magnitude is complex and different procedures will often give slightly different magnitudes for the same earthquake.
Earthquakes are measured according to the Richter scale – the most devastating effects are seen on level 6 and above, and if the epicentre of the earthquake is located in highly populated areas. Earthquakes can cause high numbers of deaths and injuries as well as serious destruction of buildings and infrastructure.
Hazards of Earthquakes
Earthquake hazards include any physical phenomenon associated with an earthquake that may produce adverse effects on human activities. While they are often used as synonyms, it is useful to distinguish between “hazards” and “risk”. Hazards are the natural phenomena that might impact a region, regardless of whether there is anyone around to experience them or not. Risk refers to what we stand to lose when the hazard occurs; it is what we have built that’s threatened. Risk can be usually be measured in dollars or fatalities, Hazard is generally measured in more physical units: energy, shaking strength, depth of water inundation, etc.
Primary earthquake hazards are:
1. Ground shaking
4. Surface rupture
Secondary earthquake hazards are those that are caused by the primary hazards, and may often be more catastrophic:
Earthquake Hazard Prediction, Assessment, and Mitigation:
A real-time seismic monitoring network consisting of seventeen broad-band stations for monitoring of earthquakes is set up to estimate earthquake parameters within shortest possible time. Significant earthquakes are being auto-located and first information is sent within 15 minutes using both Indian and global seismic stations configured in the network. A 20-station VSAT-based seismic telemetry network is established for real time monitoring and reporting of seismic activity in the northeastern region of India. Facilities have also been created for scanning, vector digitization and systematic archival of seismic analog charts of historical importance in electronic form.
Earthquake Pre-cursor Studies:
During the last two decades, India has been affected by moderate to large magnitude earthquakes not only in the Himalayan region, but also in the Peninsular Shield region. National Program on Earthquake Precursors (NPEP) was launched to adopt an integrated approach of generation, assimilation and analyses of a variety of earthquake precursory phenomena in critical seismotectonic environments in the country in a comprehensive manner. As part of this, a suite of Multi-Parametric Geophysical Observatories (MPGOs) have been set up at Ghuttu, Shillong and Koyna to monitor various earthquake precursory phenomenon such as, seismicity patterns, crustal deformations, gravity anomalies, electrical resistivity changes, electromagnetic perturbations, water level changes, geo-hydrochemical changes, Radon and Helium anomalies and thermal anomalies, etc. Preliminary analyses of these data sets have provided useful leads on the ongoing tectonic processes in the Koyna-Warna region, which has helped in issuing short-term forecasts of earthquakes in this region. In Ghuttu, various geophysical data series are being analysed for probable identification of precursory signals.
Microzonation is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional effort, which has direct application in disaster mitigation and management, urban development, planning, design and construction, and risk assessment to existing life and property, defence installations, heavy industry and public utilities and services, etc. During the last few years’ efforts have been made to take up microzonation studies for Delhi, Guwahati, Sikkim and Bangalore. The microzonation of Guwahati, Sikkim and Bangalore on 1:25000 scale, and Delhi on 1:50,000 scale has been completed.
Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. Out in the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not dramatically increase in height. But as the waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights as the depth of the ocean decreases. The speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave. Tsunami waves may travel as fast as jet planes over deep waters, only slowing down when reaching shallow waters. While tsunamis are often referred to as tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because tides have little to do with these giant waves.
A tsunami, also called a seismic wave, is a series of waves caused by the movement of a large body of water.
The term tsunami means ‘big wave in the port’ in Japanese – and it was coined by fishermen after they returned to shore to find their villages devastated by a giant wave they had not seen at sea. The killer waves can sometimes only be 30cm above the water surface when in the open ocean, so go unnoticed by sailors. But as it reaches shallower waters, the wave is slowed and the top of the wave moves faster than the bottom, causing the sea to dramatically rise. Tsunamis can cause the sea levels to rise by as much as 30 metres, although they usually cause a rise averaging three metres. The enormous energy of a tsunami can lift boulders, flip cars and plough down buildings.
A tsunami can be formed in a number of different ways, but usually there are three things that have to happen. An earthquake must measure at least 7.0 on the Richter scale, the sea bed must be lifted or lowered by the earthquake, and the epicentre of the earthquake must be close to the Earth’s surface.
Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, underwater explosions, landslides, meteorite impacts and other disturbances above or below water can potentially generate a tsunami. While normal waves are caused by the winds as well as the Moon and the Sun, a tsunami is always caused by the displacement of a large body of water. Tsunamis are sometimes called tidal waves, although this term is not popular among experts as they are not actually influenced by the tides at all.
The impact of a tsunami is usually limited to coastal areas but the destruction could be immense. Buildings and anything in the path of the waves is in danger of being destroyed and washed away, such is the force of the wave. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which struck off the west coast of Indonesia, left 250,000 people killed or missing in 14 different countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
A tsunami warning is issued when a tsunami with the potential to generate widespread inundation is imminent or expected. Warnings alert the public that dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful cur¬rents is possible and may continue for several hours after initial arrival. Warnings alert emergency management officials to take action for the entire tsunami hazard zone. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Warnings may be updated, adjusted geographically, downgraded, or canceled. To provide the earliest possible alert, initial warnings are normally based only on seismic information.
A tsunami advisory is issued when a tsunami with the potential to generate strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or very near the water is imminent or expected. The threat may continue for sev¬eral hours after initial arrival, but significant inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include closing beaches, evacuating harbors and marinas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Advisories are normally updated to continue the advisory, expand/contract affected areas, upgrade to a warning, or cancel the advisory.
A tsunami watch is issued to alert emergency management officials and the public of an event which may later impact the watch area. The watch area may be upgraded to a warning or advisory – or canceled – based on updated information and analysis. Therefore, emergency management officials and the public should prepare to take action. Watches are normally issued based on seismic information without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway.
A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock below the surface of the earth. Unlike most mountains, which are pushed up from below, volcanoes are vents through which molten rock escapes to the earth’s surface. When pressure from gases within the molten rock becomes too great, an eruption occurs. Eruptions can be quiet or explosive. There may be lava flows, flattened landscapes, poisonous gases, and flying rock and ash that can sometimes travel hundreds of miles downwind.
Because of their intense heat, lava flows are great fire hazards. Lava flows destroy everything in their path, but most move slowly enough that people can move out of the way.
Fresh volcanic ash, made of pulverized rock, can be abrasive, acidic, gritty, gassy and odorous. While not immediately dangerous to most adults, the acidic gas and ash can cause lung damage to small infants, to older adults and to those suffering from severe respiratory illnesses. Volcanic ash also can damage machinery, including engines and electrical equipment. Ash accumulations mixed with water become heavy and can collapse roofs. Volcanic ash can affect people hundreds of miles away from the cone of a volcano.
Sideways directed volcanic explosions, known as “lateral blasts,” can shoot large pieces of rock at very high speeds for several miles. These explosions can kill by impact, burial or heat. They have been known to knock down entire forests.
Volcanic eruptions can be accompanied by other natural hazards, including earthquakes, mudflows and flash floods, rock falls and landslides, acid rain, fire, and (under special conditions) tsunamis.
A cyclone is caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area and is usually accompanied by violent storms and severe weather conditions. Intense tropical storms are called Hurricanes over theAtlantic Ocean and Typhoons over the Pacific Ocean.
The word Cyclone is derived from a Greek word cyclos, meaning coiling of snake. Tropical cyclone is a deep low pressure area wherein the central pressure falls 6 to 8 hPa (hectopascal) from the surroundings.
Strong winds spiral around the centre and pick up speeds of 62 kmph or more. These winds rotate counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
Origination and strength of Cyclones
Cyclones originate over the sea and travel about 300 to 500 km a day, drawing heat energy from the ocean waters. A fully matured cyclone releases energy equivalent to few hydrogen bombs. The diameter of a cyclone varies from 150 to 1000 kilometres but their effects dominate thousands of square kilometres of the ocean surface.
Classification of Tropical Cyclones
Cyclones are classified into five different categories on the basis of wind speed, from Category 1 to Category 5. The wind speed varies according to the category of the cyclone, from 60 kilometers an hour to about 220 kmph and above. Once the winds around the low pressure area reach upto 62 kmph, it is termed as a tropical cyclone and is assigned a name. As and when the wind speed settles between 89 and 118 kmph, it turns into a Severe Cyclonic Storm. Thereafter, the storm intensifies into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm when the wind blows at a speed of about 119 to 221 kmph. When the wind speed exceeds 221 kmph, the cyclone is called a Super Cyclonic Storm.
A fully matured cyclone develops a calm centre called Eye with a ring of hurricane winds around it, possessing the following characteristics:
1. Eye forms at the centre of Central Dense Overcast (CDO) region of storm.
2. Diameter of the Eye of a storm is about 10-50 km.
3. Eye is the cloud-free zone, surrounded by thick cloud walls.
4. Eye is surrounded by a 10-15 km thick wall of convective clouds, a zone of maximum wind.
5. Eye is the calm region with practically no rains.
6. Eye is warmer than the surrounding region.
7. Lowest surface pressure is observed at the Eye.
8. Eye is an indicative of very strong winds spiralling around the centre.
9. All cyclonic storms may not develop an Eye.
10. Sometimes, double Eye is also seen, which is indicative of very high intensity.
11. Eye wall is the most dangerous part of the storm.
12. Storm surge, torrential rains and high velocity winds are the associated features of Eye wall.
Cyclones are classified as extra tropical cyclones (also called temperate cyclones); and tropical cyclones.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO, 1976) uses the term ‘Tropical Cyclone’ to cover weather systems in which winds exceed ‘Gale Force’ (minimum of 34 knots or 63 kph). Tropical cyclones are the progeny of ocean and atmosphere, powered by the heat from the sea; and driven by easterly trades and temperate westerlies, high planetary winds and their own fierce energy.
In India, cyclones are classified by:
1. Strength of associated winds,
2. Storm surges
3. Exceptional rainfall occurrences.
Extra tropical cyclones occur in temperate zones and high latitude regions, though they are known to originate in the Polar Regions.
Cyclones that developin the regions between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer are called tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are large-scale weather systems developing over tropical or subtropical waters, where they get organized into surface wind circulation.
Storm surges (tidal waves) are defined as the rise in sea level above the normally predicted astronomical tide. Major factors include:
1. A fall in the atmospheric pressure over the sea surface
2. Effect of the wind
3. Influence of the sea bed
4. A funnelling effect
5. The angle and speed at which the storm approaches the coast
6. The tides
The very high specific humidity condenses into exceptionally large raindrops and giant cumulus clouds, resulting in high precipitation rates. When a cyclone makes landfall, rain rapidly saturates the catchment areas and the rapid runoff may extensively flood the usual water sources or create new ones.
Mature Tropical Cyclones
When a tropical storm intensifies, the air rises in vigorous thunderstorms and tends to spread out horizontally at the tropopause level. Once air spreads out, a positive perturbation pressure at high levels is produced, which accelerates the downward motion of air due to convection. With the inducement of subsidence, air warms up by compression and a warm ‘Eye’ is generated. Generally, the ‘Eye’ of the storms has three basic shapes: (i) circular; (ii) concentric; and (iii) elliptical. The main physical feature of a mature tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean is a concentric pattern of highly turbulent giant cumulus thundercloud bands.
Modification and Decay
A tropical cyclone begins to weaken in terms of its central low pressure, internal warmth and extremely high speeds, as soon as its source of warm moist air begins to ebb, or is abruptly cut off. This happens after its landfall or when it passes over cold waters. The weakening of a cyclone does not mean that the danger to life and property is over.
Cyclones vary in diameter from 50 to 320 km but their effects dominate thousands of square kilometers of ocean surface and the lower atmosphere. The perimeter may measure 1,000 km but the powerhouse is located within the 100-km radius. Nearer the Eye, winds may hit at a speed of 320 km. Thus, tropical cyclones, characterized by destructive winds, torrential rainfall and storm surges disrupt normal life with the accompanying phenomena of floods due to the exceptional level of rainfall and storm surge inundation into inland areas. Cyclones are characterized by their devastating potential to damage structures, viz. houses; lifeline infrastructure-power and communication towers; hospitals; food storage facilities; roads, bridges and culverts; cropss etc. The most fatalities come from storm surges and the torrential rain flooding the lowland areas of coastal territories.
Factors Responsible for the Location of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sector Industries in Various Parts of the World (Including India)
Generally, location of industries is influenced by economic considerations though certain non-economic considerations also might influence the location of some industries. Maximisation of profit which also implies cost minimization is the most important goal in their choice of particular places for the location of industries. There are several factors which pull the industry to a particular place. Some of the major factors influencing location are discussed below:
1. Availability of raw materials: In determining the location of an industry, nearness to sources of raw material is of vital importance. Nearness to the sources of raw materials would reduce the cost of production of the industry. For most of the major industries, the cost of raw materials form the bulk of the total cost. Therefore, most of the agro-based and forest-based industries are located in the vicinity of the sources of raw material supply.
2. Availability of Labour: Adequate supply of cheap and skilled labour is necessary for and industry. The attraction of an industry towards labour centres depends on the ratio of labour cost to the total cost of production which Weber calls ‘Labour cost of Index’. The availability of skilled workers in the interior parts of Bombay region was one of the factors responsible for the initial concentration of cotton textile industry in the region.
3. Proximity to Markets: Access to markets is an important factor which the entrepreneur must take into consideration. Industries producing perishable or bulky commodities which cannot be transported over long distance are generally located in close proximity to markets. Industries located near the markets could be able to reduce the costs of transport in distributing the finished product as in the case of bread and bakery, ice, tins, cans manufacturing, etc. Accessibility of markets is more important in the case of industries manufacturing consumer goods rather than producer goods.
4. Transport Facilities: Transport facilities, generally, influence the location of industry. The transportation with its three modes, i.e., water, road, and rail collectively plays an important role. So the junction points of water-ways, roadways and railways become humming centres of industrial activity. Further, the modes and rates of transport and transport policy of Government considerably affect the location of industrial units. The heavy concentration of cotton textile industry in Bombay has been due to the cheap and excellent transportation network both in regard to raw materials and markets.
5. Power: Another factor influencing the location of an industry is the availability of cheap power. Water, wind, coal, gas, oil and electricity are the chief sources of power. Both water and wind power were widely sought at sources of power supply before the invention of steam engine. During the nineteenth century, nearness to coal-fields became the principal locating influence on the setting up of new industries, particularly, for heavy industries. With the introduction of other sources of power like electricity, gas, oil, etc. the power factor became more flexible leading to dispersal and decentralization of industries.
6. Site and Services: Existence of public utility services, cheapness of the value of the site, amenities attached to a particular site like level of ground, the nature of vegetation and location of allied activities influence the location of an industry to a certain extent. The government has classified some areas as backward areas where the entrepreneurs would be granted various incentives like subsidies, or provision of finance at concessional rate, or supply of power a cheaper rates and provision of education and training facilities. Some entrepreneurs induced by such incentives may come forward to locate their units in such areas.
7. Finance: Finance is required for the setting up of an industry, for its running, and also at the time of its expansion. The availability of capital at cheap rates of interests and in adequate amount is a dominating factor influencing industrial location. For instance, a review of locational history of Indian cotton textile industry indicates that concentration of the industry in and around Bombay in the early days was mainly due to the presence of rich and enterprising Parsi and Bhatia merchants, who supplied vast financial resources.
8. Natural and Climatic Considerations: Natural and climatic considerations include the level of ground, topography of a region, water facilities, drainage facilities, disposal of waste products, etc. These factors sometimes influence the location of industries. For instance, in the case of cotton textile industry, humid climate provides an added advantage since the frequency of yarn breakage is low. The humid climate of Bombay in India and Manchester in Britain offered great scope for the development of cotton textile industry in those centres.
9. Personal Factors: In deciding location of industrial units, sometimes an entrepreneur may have personal preferences and prejudices against certain localities. For instance, Mr. Ford started to manufacture motor cars in Detroit simply because it was his home-town. In such cases, personal factor dominates other considerations. However, this kind of domination is rare.
10. Strategic Considerations: In modern times, strategic considerations are playing a vital role in determining industrial location. During war-time a safe location is assuming special significance. This is because in times of war the main targets of air attacks would be armament and ammunition factories and industries supplying other commodities which are required for war. The Russian experience during the Second World War provides and interesting example.
11. External Economies: External economies also exert considerable influence on the location of industries. External economies arise due to the growth of specialized subsidiary activities when a particular industry is mainly localized at a particular centre with port and shipping facilities. External economies could also be enjoyed when a large number of industrial units in the same industry were located in close proximity to one another.
12. Miscellaneous Factors: Historical incidents also play a dominating role in determining the location of industries in certain cases. The development of cotton-textile industry in Lancashire provides an interesting example for this. Further, the size of and industrial unit would also have much influence in choosing location. This is because the size of industrial units depends upon the radius of the circle within which they can profitably distribute their goods and upon the density of population living within the circle.