After this weekend's earthquake in Indonesia, one of the newspapers published a quote from someone else's blog, saying "First the tsunami, then this. Why does this always happen to Indonesia? Why?" as if natural disasters should be evenly distributed across the Earth, rather than repeatedly happening in the same areas.

That person could find out why if they bothered to study geology. Indonesia is an island sitting above a subduction zone, where the Indian Ocean plate is being forced beneath the Eurasian plate. Hence, it is an area with a huge degree of seismic activity, and a shedload of active volcanoes, all being driven by this collision of plates. The Boxing Day tsunami was created by an undersea earthquake, also a product of this subduction zone.

So rather than babbling incoherently about how unfair things are, this person could have gone to the library and picked up a book on Earth sciences. Then they would have found that some places, far from active tectonic margins, will never have a serious earthquake or volcanic eruption (e.g. the UK) whilst others that sit on top of them (e.g. Indonesia) will have rather a lot of them. It isn't pleasant, it isn't fair, it's simply the way the Earth has turned out.