A natural hazard is an occurrence that takes place in the natural environment that causes destruction to life as well as property. A natural hazard can happen anywhere at anytime. These natural forces can cause destruction to an entire village, town, country, or planet. For example, the tsunami, that took place in Phuket, Thailand, was considered a natural hazard because it was from an outside natural force. Because of the earth shifting under the ocean, the tsunami developed and took the lives of close to a hundred thousand and also destroyed so much property that the survivors are still struggling to restore the land that once prevailed. A natural hazard can include: Earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, fires, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, hurricanes, and many other unpredicted hazards. A hazard is a hazard because it causes some kind of destruction or has the ability to cause destruction to either life or property.
The difference between an artificial hazard and a natural hazard is the fact that human beings create artificial hazards. For example 9/11 was an artificial hazard. There wasn’t any force of nature that caused the towers to come crashing down in New York City that morning; it was only the work of devious human beings. This disaster cost thousands of people their lives as well as millions of dollars worth of property damage. Artificial hazards can include: bombings, plane crashes, car accidents, construction sites, and other manmade hazards.
Japan is a small island off of the Eastern coast of Asia. This small-overpopulated island is in such an unusual place that there is no wonder as to why it is very common for natural hazards to occur. The most common natural hazards in Japan include: earthquakes, volcanic-eruptions, tsunamis, and typhoons.
When it comes to earthquakes they are number one on Japan’s list of natural hazards. Japan usually has up to 5000 earthquakes each year causing at least one or more a day. The reason for so many earthquakes existing in Japan is because of the small country’s position on the Earth. Japan is located on a subduction zone, which is where one plate under the earth’s surface is being forced under another plate. Japan is located at the meeting point of two pieces of the Pacific plate, which are moving in different directions along side each other. Though many of these earthquakes are minor, there are several that can be very strong. Scientists are currently using lasers and satellites in order to monitor the movement of plates and faults. Scientist may know the region of where an earthquake may hit, however, they have not discovered a way to predict the actual happening of this type of natural disaster.
Earthquakes may not only cause one natural disaster but they have the ability to spark another kind of disaster, which is a tsunami. Tsunamis cause large waves to crash up on the shore and destroy whatever lies in its path including people, animals, plants, and property. Not only are earthquakes to blame for tsunamis, but because Japan is surrounded by water is also a big factor. A Tsunami is a large tidal wave that approaches the shore. As the wave gets closer to the shore it begins to slowdown and grow excessively in height. The tsunami begins to start losing energy as it gets closer to shore and this causes some of the water energy to be bounced off shore. The tsunami still reaches the coast with a considerable amount of energy causing massive destructions to whatever lies in the path. Because an earthquake cannot be predicted a tsunami can’t be either. This hazard can happen without any knowledge and destroy before anyone has the chance to get out.
Volcanoes are another common natural hazard that occurs in Japan. Japan is covered in mountainous areas so it is not surprising that volcanoes exist there. Volcanoes located throughout the Kuril Islands, northeastern Honshu and the Bonin Islands all form one big island, which form the northeastern area of Japan. Japan holds close to 1/10th of the world’s most active volcanoes, however, there are hundreds of inactive volcanoes. Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is still active as with other mountains including: Asama, Aso, Banai, Miharaand, and Sakurajima. The actual amount of active volcanoes is 40 out of 180. The reason for volcanic eruptions are because deep within the earth’s surface where it is extremely hot rocks, begin to melt and become a thick flowing substance called magma. If the magma is very thick and sticky pressure will begin to rise up and collect into magma chambers where some of it is able to escape on to Earth’s surface. This can cause a violent volcanic eruption. Once the magma reaches the surface it becomes lava. If one of these types of violent eruptions occurs this can cause tempura that is when the magma blasts into the air and breaks apart into pieces. These pieces of tempura can range from ash size to the size of a giant boulder. Tempura can cause thick clouds and ash to cover the Earth’s surface. This effect can cause the suffocation of plants, animals, and people. However, often time lava is very slow and thick coming out of the volcano so people are able to escape before serious damage has been done, but many buildings and other properties can be destroyed from it.
The Government of Japan monitors the activity of volcanoes very closely. At least once a year the Japanese are given volcanic drills. During these drills they will actually fly people in helicopters out of the village for practice. Scientists are now measuring and recording volcanic activity in order to study information on volcanoes. With this technology they hope to be able to give enough people warnings before the disaster strikes.
Typhoons are another major natural hazard in Japan. A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that has the wind speed of more than 17.2 meters per second. Japan has a rough estimate of about 29 typhoons per year. This type of natural disaster is one of the most deadly of them all. Typhoon season begins at the end of September and the beginning of October in Japan. They bring heavy rain over wide areas which causes flooding and gale winds that damage homes and forest resources. Researchers study typhoons so that they can tell how and when it will be developed.
As more advancements in technology persists we may all be able to be warned of great natural hazards. However, nature is very unpredictable and even in the future when we are able to predict these happenings, something unpredictable may occur.