Fragile Systems 4
1. List 5 types of energy and describe what causes them to vary.
o Work: W=Fd. Work is the force applied over a distance. The
magnitude of the force and the distance it moves can cause the work
o Potential Energy: P = meh. Energy required to move an object
against gravity. Mass and height causes potential to vary.
o Kinetic Energy: K = 0e5mv Energy in motion. Varies because mass
and velocity can be altered.
o Sensible Heat: The heat that can be felt by a thermometer; particle
o Latent Heat: “Hidden” heat energy. Can either by stored or released.
Water + Heat Steam (Stored)
Water Ice + Heat (Released)
2. Explain how the force of gravity affects motion and energy.
Gravity is a constant force that affects motion be always attracting objects to each
other. It affects energy by altering how the energy is used (Potential Energy: Always
accelerated towards the Earth, not anywhere else)
3. Explain (with examples) how energy conservation applies to natural
Natural disasters are essentially the transfer of energy from one state to another.
Earthquakes: Heat causes the Earth to create convection currents. These convection
currents drive the tectonic plates into motion. When they get stuck, they store
potential energy in the rocks as elastic energy. When this junction is released,
energy waves in the form of kinetic energy are released into the surrounding area.
4. Describe population growth and explain why it is important for natural
Population growth is crucial in the survival of natural disasters because a high
number of people put a strain on infrastructure, people are less likely to be
evacuated successfully (transportation corridors are all jammed) Functionality of
human society is in jeopardy (too much people in distress)
5. Explain how Earth’s carrying capacity and overpopulation are related
to the fate of the human race, and anticipate your role in it.
The more people in distress during times of need will result in complete chaos and
confusion. The strain on the infrastructure put on by a huge number of people will
cause less people to be evacuated safely. Role: to be prepared for a natural disaster when it hits, prepare an emergency kit, be prepared for no help for 3 days, don’t use
1. Use concepts of stress causing strain and plastic versus brittle
deformation to explain how energy is release causing earthquakes.
When a stress occurs, a strain (deformation) on the Earth will occur. Elastic will
hold its shape therefore holding energy. Plastic will cause the Earth to permanently
deform (folding). Brittle will cause the Earth to rupture (fault lines). Brittle
deformation will cause faulting, in which elastic deformation will build up pressure
as the plates move together. When this potential energy is released, a earthquake
2. Recognize visual evidence of tectonic forces in rocks and landscapes
(e.g. fault types, topography)
Convergent: Two plates come together. Denser, older, colder plate subducts
underneath. (Usually the oceanic plate). If two continental plates converge, Fold
Mountains will develop. (Reverse Fault; Compression)
Divergent: Called a Rift Valley on land. Plates move away from each other. Magma
rises and new land is created, or ocean in a rift valley. (Normal Fault; Tension)
Transform: Two plates are sliding side-by-side-past each other because of a sheer
force. (90-degree angle)
3. Recognize an association between seismic and volcanic events at plate
Usually at a subduction zone, volcanoes will form in-land. This is because the water
that is dragged underneath by the subducting plate wants to escape; it has nowhere
to go but up, creating volcanoes.
4. Distinguish between oceanic crust, continental crust, lithosphere and
o Oceanic Crust: Very thin, but dense layer of basalt.
o Continental Crust: Thick, but buoyant layer of granite.
o Lithosphere: The layer where all the plates move on. Followed
by the Asthenosphere and the Mesosphere.
o Plates interact with each other at the outmost edges. Young,
hot plates will rise above a cold, old plate. 5. Explain the global distribution of earthquakes (i.e. rare, large and
frequent mall quakes) in terms of tectonic plate interactions and the
forces that drive them.
Rare, large earthquakes are usually seen around the ring of fire. A biggest
earthquakes of expected at convergent margins (mega thrust), followed by
transform then divergent. Ridge Push forces two plates away from each other, and
Slab Pull forces plates to be driven into the Earth (both caused by gravity)
1. Describe how the Earth builds, stores, and releases energy in
As plates interact, they store potential elastic energy between them. A sudden
change in the orientation of the plates will cause this potential energy to be changed
into kinetic energy that radiated outwards from the focus in a variety of different
types of waves.
2. Describe how an earthquake moves through the Earth, comparing the
different kinds of waves.
An earthquake creates waves that move through the Earth:
o Body Waves (Fast)
Primary Waves (Slinky motion; travels through
solids and liquids)
Secondary Waves (Sheering motion: travels only
o Surface Waves (Slow, but destructive)
Love Waves (Sheering Motion; travel on the