“Although Mass Movements Are A Natural Phenomena

1356 words - 5 pages

"Although mass movements are a natural phenomena, their occurrence is exacerbated by human activity". Discuss Mass movements can exist in many forms as well as in spatial locations upon the earth's surface. The research into such occurrences varies from location to location depending on factors including the level of economic development, education and understanding, and the population affected.There is no doubt that the occurrence of mass movements such as Landslides, Mudslides and Rotational slipping are due to natural processes acting within the Biosphere.Mass movement in its simplest terms is defined as 'a combination of water acting as a lubricant to soil particles and the force of gravity leads to the down slope movement of these particles'. Such activity is known as mass movement. (Law, N. et al 1988) This definition produces a clear basis for structuring arguments for and against the possibilities of human actions exacerbating the situation.There are factors which are loosely connected to this subject such as human activities influencing levels of precipitation, including the role of humans in the process of global warming. If such a situation were to be proved to be in existence then it is indeed possible for human activity to have an indirect influence upon the severity of the impact of mass movements.Human activities taking place within the site and situation of existing or potential mass movement zones can be examined more closely. In particular, their potential to exacerbate the extent of movement by simply being situated upon the geology involved comes into question.Activity such as urbanization and sustained actions upon the structure of the geology including abatement, adjustment and protection can all put strain on the natural occurring processes. This influence is evident in many locations including Hong Kong where terracing of urbanization on mud slopes has caused many disasters over the years. So much so, in fact, that specialist slope-monitoring teams have been put into action, many of which are in vain. (Digby, B. et al 1996) Previous occurrences have provided scientists with the knowledge that slope instability is in existence both where activity has taken place and where land remains untouched. The 'Fugro World Wide' Web Site supports this with; 'Hong Kong presented challenges in that it is a mountainous territory with little suitable building land and where slope instability is a feature of the natural geology'. This does not however exclude the possibility that human activity in different locations to those in question has had in impact on the stability of the land. Some geographers do not discount this possibility. Selby (1985) comments that 'The Agricultural settlements - often with terraces, irrigation systems, and always with large-scale changes of the vegetation - which are set up to supply the urban population have effects upon landscape which may extend for thousands of kilometers away from the urban market'.This...

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