Most Dangerous Places to Live

By: Haley Arkfeld, Kaitlynn Bruck, and Isaac Stitz

Hundreds of thousands dead, hundreds of billions of dollars in damages, and these are only some of the reasons why the following places are the most dangerous places in the world. Tangshan, China, Honshu, Japan, and Sumatra, Indonesia, are arguably the most dangerous places in the world due to tectonic activity. Just with these three locations combined there are about 487 thousand deaths, and billions of dollars in damage. They are the most dangerous places due to sitting on multiple faults and boundaries that are always moving underneath them. 10’s of millions of people live in these locations which contribute to the many deaths when major earthquakes occur. This article will prove to you why these places are the most dangerous places in the world.

Sumatra, Indonesia

In the Indian Ocean sits an island, Sumatra, the 6th largest island in the world. With a population of 50,365,538 as of 2010. Lake Toba, with it’s clear waters and the beautiful tropical forest throughout the island. Tropical is what the climate is like in Sumatra, which means it can be hot and humid one hour. Another hour it can be raining and cold. Along with their culture that many people go to visit. Some people go here for adventure or business, but that can change on this plate boundary.
Tectonic Activity
Sumatra sits between the Australian and the Eurasian plate boundary. This plate is a subduction zone and therefore it has convergent movement, which is compressing against each other. Australian plate moves about 5.5 centimeters per year. It is so high in tectonic activity because it sits on two plates and it lies on the ring of fire. They not only have earthquakes, but they also have volcanoes. This makes Sumatra Island very active in terms of tectonic activity.

Why it’s a Dangerous Place?

In 2004, a tsunami and earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 hit Sumatra putting the island into total chaos. There were more than 200,000 deaths from this event. There was another earthquake in 2005 and many more up to date. Also, Sumatra’s volcanoes magma sources are a big part of how many deaths and damage there are. Sumatra, Indonesia always has earthquakes and occasionally volcanoes. Some of them usually aren’t felt, but if they are, they are deadly. As of 2012, there has been 23 earthquakes since 1797, and 35 active volcanoes. The earthquakes were all a 5.8 or above in magnitude. Sumatra’s plates are always moving causing a lot of earthquakes in this area. This information makes Sumatra one of the top dangerous places in the world.

Tangshan, China

Why Do People Live There?

Tangshan, China is 111 miles east of Beijing, China. Beijing was the home of the 2008 summer Olympic Games. The population of Tangshan is just above three million people. People live in Tangshan because it is a very industrial city, thus giving lots of jobs and ways to make a living. The industries there include machinery, vehicles, chemicals, textiles, glass, and cement. Another reason people may want to live in Tangshan is because of the religious and historic places it has. Tangshan is the home of Jingzhong Mountain, which is a very big religious shrine for the believers of Confucianism and Buddhism. Tangshan is also the home of the Eastern Tombs of the Qing Dynasty.

Tectonic Plates and Faults

Tangshan, China is located in the ring of fire which is an area known for its major earthquakes and volcanoes. This city also sits on a couple of faults named the Yan Shan fold-fault, and the Congdong fault. But the major earthquakes in this area was caused by subduction, which is when two plates meet and one is forced underneath the other. Subduction zones are found at convergent boundaries. China is very active in terms of tectonic plates moving. There have been many earthquakes in China including the Sichuan and Yunnan earthquakes all with death tolls of over 100.

Why It's Dangerous?

China has had lots of major quakes, but one of the biggest quakes in Chinese history, and is the third largest quake ever. The death toll of this earthquake was estimated to be around 240,000 or more people. China has had more than 20 earthquakes rating over a four on the Richter scale since 1970. All of these quakes that happen in China have added up to hundreds of billions, if not a trillion dollars in damage. Given the damage, power, and death toll in this region, it is safe to say that it may be one of the most dangerous places on earth.

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Honshu, Japan

Honshu, Japan is one of the four main islands of Japan. In 2005 the population was a total of 103,000,000, which makes this the largest of the four islands. With being home to millions of people it’s come a long way in the years it has major companies and many small ones. This island is full of lights sounds and yet still has many agriculture areas. Honshu still has many building from when the Japanese culture had begun, and is very religious people.

Honshu, Japan actual lies next to three tectonic plates. These include the Philippine Sea plate, the Pacific plate, and the Eurasian Plate these all move in different directions which makes this place very active in terms of volcanoes and earthquakes. The Philippine plate moves west towards the Eurasian plate. The Eurasian plate moves northeast towards the Pacific plate, and the Pacific plate moves southwest towards the Eurasian plate. With all of the movement this is a very dangerous place to live. All of these boundaries are convergent which means they move towards each other and overlap.

Earthquakes occur very often, almost every couple days or little longer they might not be very strong ones but they do happen. Thousands have lost their lives due to the activities here. With it being located by three tectonic plates there’s a lot to worry about, like when things will occur and if it will affect me.
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As you can see by the severity in damage and deaths, earthquakes make these places; Honshu, Tangshan, and Sumatra, the most dangerous places in the world due to tectonic activity. With thousands of people dying in these areas, why would you want to live there? The answer to this question is hard for most people. It is because they love their land, culture, and the many unique features. In addition to how dangerous these places are, they also contain history of the country and many industries and businesses that supply jobs to the millions that live there.

Resources:

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"Sumatra Tourism and Vacations: 112 Things to Do in ... - TripAdvisor." 2004. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294231-Sumatra-Vacations.html>
"Sumatra Weather - Sumatra, Indonesia Forecast - TripAdvisor." 2006. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294231-s208/Sumatra:Indonesia:Weather.And.When.To.Go.html>
"Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Sumatra - Tectonics Observatory." 2008. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.tectonics.caltech.edu/outreach/highlights/sumatra/>
"Sumatran Plate Boundary Project at Caltech - Tectonics Observatory ..." 2005. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.tectonics.caltech.edu/sumatra/>
"List of volcanoes in Indonesia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." 2006. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_volcanoes_in_Indonesia>
"Overview - e-Education Institute." 2009. 25 Feb. 2013 <https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth540/content/c2_p1.html>
"Tectonics and Volcanoes of Japan." 2008. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/north_asia/japan_tec.html
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"List of earthquakes in China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." 2008. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_China>
"Hebei Travel Guide: Map, Location, Climate, Scenic Spots." 2002. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/hebei/>
"Tangshan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." 2004. 25 Feb. 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangshan>