Plate Tectonics Case Studies

Mt Pinatubo (Philippines)

In 1991 the oceanic-oceanic, destructive plate boundary, produced the largest eruption for some 35,000 years. The demographic, social, economic and environmental impacts were considerable.

Images of eruption

Kobe (Japan)

 The 6.9 magnitude earthquake of 1995 killed 6000 people, mainly in the region of Nagata in the city of Kobe, where the traditional cyclone-resistant housing, were located.

Virtual Field Trip

Lake Nyos (Cameroon)

Volcanic gases. In 1986, Lake Nyos 'burped' releasing 1 cubic km of carbon dioxide gas. The gas flowed down the flank of the volcano and engulfed the area surrounding it including the town of Nyos. 1742 people died.

Virtual Field Trip


Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia)

Volcanic ash mixes with water to form a dense slurry similar to freshly mixed concrete. The town of Armero 20km from the Nevado del Ruiz volcano caused the death of 22,000 inhabitants in 1985.

Virtual Field Trip of the Lahar

Mt Etna (Italy)

Lava flow control using dynamite to blast diversion canals to channel the flow away from settlements was undertaken in 1983.

Virtual Field Trip


Heimaey (Iceland)

Lava flow was controlled to protect the harbour in the town of Vestmannaeyjar by pumping and spraying the lava with sea water.

Virtual Field Trip