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Natural Hazards And Risk Analysis

  • By: Ben Wisner, Ilan Kelman & J. C. Gaillard
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Human beings live on a restless, dynamic planet. Our settlements and livelihoods depend on Earth's variations and variability, past and present, in the form of geology, topography, climate, and the distribution of vegetation and freshwater. At the same time, these variations and variability pose potential threats, which are called natural hazards. Extreme movements in Earth's crust release energy experienced as earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis on Earth. Climate extremes such as hurricanes release gigantic amounts of energy. Heat waves, blizzards, and ice storms are other climate extremes. Floods and mass movements such as landslides, rock fall, and snow avalanches are more localized but can be very destructive and deadly, as are tornadoes and lightning strikes. Drought is a slow-onset hazard but nevertheless associated at times with ...

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