japan (tohoku) earthquake 2011 guide eng 30mar2011

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    Japan (Tohoku) Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

    Learning and Teaching Guide for Geography Teachers

    1

    Tohoku Earthquake11-3-2011Magnitude: 9

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    Figure 1 Northeast coastal area of Honshu is a famous tourist attraction of Japan before the Tohoku

    Earthquake in 2011

    At 14:46 (Japan time) of 11 March 2011, a cataclysmic 9-magnitude earthquake hit the

    northeast coast of Honshu, Japan. The hypocenter is about 130 km off the east coast of Ojika

    Peninsula of Tohoku, which is very close to Sendai, a large city in northeast Honshu. The

    earthquake was so powerful that it shifted the earth axis and made it spin a little faster.

    Minutes after the occurrence of the 9-magnitude earthquake, destructive tsunami waves

    of about 10m high struck the northeast coast of Honshu, leading to massive destruction of the

    region and high casualty. The tsunami triggered by the Tohoku Earthquake even reached

    many other countries on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean several hours later.

    Many areas in Japan were set ablaze after this terrible earthquake. Even more disastrous

    was that the earthquake triggered the Fukushima I nuclear accidents, which was the most

    destructive nuclear power incidents after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. It included a series

    of ongoing equipment failures in the nuclear power station and the release of large amount of

    radioactivity.

    According to news report, volcanic activities were also found in other parts of Japan afew days after the occurrence of the Tohoku earthquake. Volcanic activities, with smoke and

    ash reaching 4,000m high, was found at Volcano Shinmoedake ( ) of Kyushu on 13

    March 2011. In Honshu, earthquakes hit the region of Mt. Fuji a few days after the Tohoku

    Earthquake (aftershocks) and some Japanese worried that this would cause Mt. Fuji to

    become active again.

    This tragedy is a rich and appropriate case study for Hong Kong students to study

    various issues in the geography curricula. In the following pages, some suggestions were

    highlighted for teachers consideration to include this case into their teaching plans.

    2

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    (A) Syllabuses for Secondary Schools Geography (Secondary 1-3) (1998)

    The following two issues in this curriculum are especially relevant to the case study of

    Tohoku Earthquake 2011:

    1. Secondary TwoThe Unstable Earth

    Guiding Questions Explanatory Notes Concepts

    Why is our Earth unstable?

    What makes up the Earth crust?

    Where are the global volcanic and

    earthquake belts?

    What are the causes of

    earthquakes and volcanic

    eruptions?

    Earths crust and plate

    movement

    Causes of earthquakes and

    volcanic eruptions-

    interaction of plates

    Distribution of global

    earthquake and volcanic

    belts

    Plate tectonics

    Earthquake and

    volcanic belts

    Spatial

    association

    Why do so many people still live in the

    unstable areas?

    What are the consequences of

    earthquakes and volcanic

    eruptions?

    Why do people still live in these

    unstable areas?

    Hazardous effects of

    earthquakes and volcanic

    eruptions

    Reasons for people living in

    unstable areas

    Hazards

    Human

    response and

    adjustments to

    hazards

    Are they making the right choice?

    What can be done to minimize the

    negative impacts of earthquakes

    and volcanic eruptions?

    Is it wise to live in the unstable

    areas?

    Measures taken to reduce

    losses

    Factors affecting mans

    choice

    Human

    modification of

    the environment

    Choice

    Perception

    Besides studying about plate tectonics and earthquakes, the case study also enables

    junior form geography students to re-consider the actual cost of nuclear power and whether it

    should be one of our choice of power.

    3

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    2. Secondary 3Struggle for power resources

    Guiding Questions Explanatory Notes Concepts

    Is nuclear power a possible way out?

    What are the advantages anddisadvantages of using nuclear

    power?

    Should our country (China)

    develop nuclear power?

    Pros and cons of developing

    nuclear power Conflict between

    development and

    environmental conservation

    Development

    andconservation

    conflict

    (B) Geography Curriculum Guide (Secondary 1-3) (2010)

    Similarly, two issues in the revised Geography Curriculum Guide of S1-3 (which will be

    implemented in 2012) are relevant to the case study of Tohoku Earthquake 2011.

    1. Living with Natural HazardsAre we better equipped than the others?

    Guiding Questions Knowledge

    Why does our land shake violently?

    What are the causes and effects of

    earthquakes?

    How do people in the world prepare for and

    respond to earthquake?

    The global distribution of earthquakes and

    its relationship with plate boundaries

    The primary and secondary damages

    caused by earthquakes

    Preventive (e.g. early warning, education,

    shelter) and remedial (e.g. emergency aid,

    improving prediction) measures to reduce to

    negative effects of earthquakes

    A comparison of the impacts of natural

    hazards and the respective preventive and

    remedial measures adopted by the more

    developed and the less developed regions Reasons for the people of the less

    developed regions being more vulnerable to

    natural hazards than those living in more

    developed regions

    Reasons for people choose to stay in, or are

    unable to move away from hostile areas

    affected by natural hazards

    4

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    2. Scramble for Energy

    Guiding Questions Knowledge

    Why do we struggle for energy resources? What are the major types of energy

    resources of the world? Where can they be

    found?

    Major types of energy resources of theworld: renewable and non-renewable

    resources

    What alternatives do we have?

    Is nuclear power a possible way out?

    The pros and cons of using nuclear power

    and its increasing role in future energy

    supply

    (C) Geography Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6) (2007)

    In senior secondary Geography, teachers can use the case study in teaching of the issue

    Opportunities and RisksIs it rational to live in hazard-prone areas?. The whole issue is

    about plate tectonics, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

    1. Opportunities and RisksIs it rational to live in hazard-prone areas?

    Guiding Questions Explanatory Notes Concepts

    1. What has happened to areas with

    active tectonic activities?

    2. What areas have been frequently

    affected by earthquakes, volcanic

    eruptions and tsunamis?

    3. What spatial patterns exist in these

    natural hazards?

    4. Why are there such patterns? How

    is it related to the global distribution of

    plates and plate boundaries?

    Natural hazards commonly

    found in areas with active

    tectonic activities (including

    earthquakes, volcanic

    eruptions and tsunamis)

    Global distribution patterns

    of these natural hazards

    Relationship between the

    distribution pattern of these

    natural hazards and that of

    tectonic activities

    Location and spatial

    distribution

    Place and region

    Natural hazard

    People-environment

    interrelationship

    5. What and where are the major

    plates and plate boundaries?

    6. What are the related landform

    features at plate boundaries? How are

    they formed?

    7. How does plate movement create

    Brief description of the

    internal structure of the

    earth

    The names and types of

    major plates and plate

    boundaries in the world, as

    Plate tectonics

    Natural hazard

    Location and spatial

    distribution

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    Guiding Questions Explanatory Notes Concepts

    natural hazards that develop with

    these features?

    well as their location

    The major landform features

    at plate boundaries and theirformation

    The relationship between

    plate movement and natural

    hazards

    8. What are the effects of earthquakes,

    volcanic eruptions and tsunamis?

    9. How do these natural hazards affect

    the lives of human beings?

    10. What has been done to reduce the

    impact of these natural hazards?

    Effects of earthquakes

    (primary and secondary

    effects), volcanic eruptions

    and tsunamis on human

    beings and the environment

    Measures used to reduce

    the effects of earthquakes,

    volcanic eruptions and

    tsunamis (e.g. monitoring,

    predicting and warning

    systems for natural hazards,

    various disaster mitigation

    and preparation strategies,

    land use zoning)

    Effectiveness of the above

    measures

    Natural hazards

    People-environment

    interrelationship

    Impact of

    technology

    Limitation of

    technology

    11. Why are less developed areas

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