Introduction to Plate Boundaries and Natural Hazards

João C. Duarte*, Wouter P. Schellart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


A great variety of natural hazards occur on Earth, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, landslides, floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and avalanches. The most destructive of these hazards, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, are mostly associated with tectonic plate boundaries. Their occurrence has stimulated scientists to think about their spatial and temporal distribution, and their physical causes, within the atmosphere, in the oceans, or deep within the Earth's interior. It is no coincidence that two of the greatest earthquakes ever recorded occurred at the start of the decade in which the theory of plate tectonics, the grand unifying theory of the solid Earth sciences, was developed. In this chapter, we introduce the different natural hazards associated with plate boundaries, including a discussion of one of the greatest natural disasters in history, the 1755 great Lisbon earthquake that stimulated research into the internal workings of our planet and the development of seismology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlate Boundaries and Natural Hazards
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781119054146
ISBN (Print)9781119053972
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016


  • Earthquakes
  • Geophysical natural hazards
  • Lisbon earthquake
  • Plate boundaries
  • Tectonic hazards
  • Tsunamis


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