An earthquake is characterised by shaking of the ground when there is movement of the earth’s crust. It occurs when one plate gives moves to another. The Kashmir earthquake demonstrates how the four spheres of the earth contribute to causing a natural disaster.
The earth is made up of four spheres, namely hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere (Adams, 2007). Effects on these spheres can result in numerous negative effects on both living and non-living things. The effects can either be natural or human caused events.
The Kashmir earthquake occurred when Indian and Eurasian plates hit each other. There was building up of pressure producing fault and an earthquake followed when pressure was released. An earthquake causes a lot of damage; and the case was no different with Kashmir Earth Quake in Pakistan. The Pakistan government reported 79,000 deaths caused by this earthquake (Gleich, 2005). Besides Pakistan, the neighbouring countries were also affected, for instance, officials says that 1,400 people died in India.
At the initial stage of the earthquake, two processes within the lithosphere occurred. Lithosphere is the earth’s solid rocky outermost shell. At first, there was the movement of tectonic plates. The pressure build up between the two plates making one slip on another and this resulted to an earthquake. The impact on this sphere was the disturbances that stretched underground even to other countries such as India. The crust was disturbed after earthquakes occurred affecting the lithosphere.
The pressure on the lithosphere affects the biosphere (Adams, 2007). It caused deaths of people, especially children who were buried alive in their classrooms. School buildings were destroyed affecting the learning process. Industry buildings were also destroyed bringing production to a close. The effect on the biosphere also resulted in emigration, as people fled to safer areas. At the same time, habitats of wildlife were contaminated after the shock and animals were forced to move to safer areas. Other social facilities such as hospitals were also destroyed making it hard to offer medical services to those needing it.
Among other effects on the biosphere was that Himalayan Mountain range height had increased with a few meters (Vollmann, 2006). After the two plates had slipped on each other, there was a fault. It was due to the pressure on lithosphere. The mountains, which are habitats for animals, were affected.
Collapsing buildings created waves which affected the atmosphere. It demonstrates the interaction between the four spheres where lithosphere affects the biosphere, which in turn, affects the atmosphere. As buildings fell, they created waves, which caused disturbances on the atmosphere that comprises of gasses (Hyndman, 2001). There was a change of the ground levels; the mountains height increased as in the case of Himalayan Mountain, which interfering with the atmospheric pressure exerted on the ground.
After the earthquake, there was release of some gases from industries that were destroyed, and this had effects on the atmosphere. The impacts are: the greenhouse effect, damage of the ozone layer, and acidic rain. Due to the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the Earth has risen by 0.6°C since 1880.
Just like the other spheres, hydrosphere was also affected by the Kashmir Earth Quake. Hydrosphere accounts for about 0.023% mass of the Earth (Hyndman, 2001). Waves created by the earthquake had effects on the ocean and currents affecting the rain systems and to a large extent, the weather patterns. When gases were released in the atmosphere, the acidic gases contaminate rain resulting in acidic rain. This rain contaminates water in the oceans and rivers killing the animals and plants growing under the water. It shows the close interaction between the four spheres.
Undoubtedly, all four spheres were impacted by the Kashmir Earth Quake either at the initial stages or aftershocks. It started with lithosphere and the other spheres were affected in some ways as well.