Humanities / School Trips

A Level Tectonics Hazards Conference

On 1st December, the Geography Department took their A level students to the Dominion Theatre to watch The 2017 Tectonic Hazards Geography Student Conference. It was an enjoyable day in which the students got to meet the founder of the Deggs Model, Dr Martin Degg, and Professor Iain Stewart, a Scottish geologist who has made many television shows.

The first speaker was Professor Iain Stewart who talked about his first-hand experiences of tectonic activity around the world. He mentioned the Istanbul earthquake in August and the urban renewable plan that was formed to make housing safer and to make standards of living better for the inhabitants. This was followed by Dr Martin Degg who focused his speech on the relationship between the growth of global population and megacities and earthquake risks. He suggested that the growth of megacities was undoubtedly linked with an increase of vulnerability to earthquake hazard, because of the city location and social and economic pressures as a result of a rapid growth rate. To support his argument, he used the example of Mexico City and the poor governance and lack of stability.

After this, Professor Fiona Tweed gave an insight into the crossover between earthquakes and volcanoes and directed her talk to Iceland and the varied tectonic activity there. She also spoke about challenges associated with risks from hazards and secondary hazards caused from volcanic eruptions such as jökulhlaups and their effects. Afterwards, there were a further two presentations by David Redfern and Dr Debbie Milton. David Redfern gave a speech about the factors that cause a tectonic hazard to become more disastrous, whereas Dr Debbie Milton spoke about the monitoring and management of volcanic activity and related each technique to a specific case study.

To summarise the day, Sue Warn briefly assessed the importance of plate boundaries and spoke in depth about the exceptions such as hotspot volcanoes and intraplate earthquakes. Her talk was a vital part of the day to bring together each aspect and speaker and provide case study information as evidence for these unusual events.

The trip covered recent affairs such as the Bali volcano that is predicted to erupt as well as past events such as the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland and the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. The students were able to put their theory into practise and relate what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Not only was the conference interesting it was very beneficial as the students were provided with the presentations of each speaker and an abundance of case study information that can be used in their exams.

By Megan, year 12