Physical patterns
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Physical Patterns. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN What are the patterns in physical geography around the world What forces produce geographic patterns How do patterns in physical geography affect people around the world. LANDFORMS AND RIVERS.

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Physical patterns

Physical Patterns


What are the patterns in physical geography around the world

What forces produce geographic patterns

How do patterns in physical geography affect people around the world.

Landforms and rivers

  • The people of Japan were going about their normal morning activities in 2011.

  • Tourists were enjoying a holiday on the beach.

  • The large tremor was felt. An early warning system was alerted to the ‘earthquake’ out in the ocean off the coast of Japan.

  • People were told to evacuate immediately.

  • After an earthquake in the ocean – comes a TSUNAMI


  • Tsunami – a long high wave caused by an undersea earthquake; a Japanese term meaning “harbour wave”

  • A tsunami is a special type of wave. It is sometimes (mistakenly) referred to as a tidal wave, but it is not related to the pull of the moon’s gravity on the world’s oceans. Nor is it like a storm surge, a sudden rise in sea level caused by high winds generated by storms and hurricanes that whip up the water.

  • A tsunami is different because it is caused by an earthquake.

What causes a tsunami

  • The earthquake shakes the ocean floor itself. When this happens, shock tremors race through the water outward in a circular pattern.

    • You see this same effect by dropping a large stone into a pond

    • Scientists know that the tremors travel about ten times (x 10) faster than the crest of the water (tsunami) that the motion creates. By measuring the speed of the tremor, they can estimate how long the tsunami will take to reach any part of the ocean.

Why do earthquakes occur

  • The thin skin of the earth is constantly twitching and trembling. An earthquake shakes the planet about every three minutes, or 180 000 times a year. Most earthquake are not strong enough to do any damage, but bigger ones have enormous destructive power.

  • Loss of life is especially extensive when earthquakes occur in heavily populated regions without earthquake – pro0f buildings.

Zones of the earth

  • Earthquakes occur because of the planet’s skin, the crust, is in motion. The planet is like a round egg. Scientists use the speed of earthquake tremors passing through the earth to identify three layers

    • Core – (the yolk): a very hot, dense zone under intense pressure from the weight of overlying rock material

    • Mantle – (the egg white): a zone of thick molten rock called magma, slowly moving in broad currents

    • Crust - (the eggshell): a thin, brittle shell broken into several pieces called plates, and floating on the mantle


  • Scientists believe that the currents beneath the crust slowly move the plates around. Earthquakes occur as plates are ripped apart, hauled together, or dragged alongside one another.

  • Rock under tension can bend a bit, until it snaps and moves several cm all at once.

  • Tremendous energy is released a the break point, called the epicentre. The Richter scale is a 10 pt. scale used to measure the strength of an earthquake.