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Natural disasters

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Nature and flora

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, a moment magnitude of 9.1–9.3 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). It was an undersea megathrust earthquake caused by rupture along the fault between the Burma Plate and the subducting Indian Plate. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunamis up to 30 metres (100 ft) high, inundating coastal communities along the coasts of the Indian Ocean and killing an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries. The earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, the deadliest of the 21st century so far. Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

 
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Nature and flora

Hurricane Irene (2005)

Hurricane Irene was a long-lived Cape Verde hurricane during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm formed near Cape Verde on August 4 and crossed the Atlantic, turning northward around Bermuda before being absorbed by an extratropical cyclone while situated southeast of Newfoundland. Irene proved to be a difficult storm to forecast due to oscillations in strength. After almost dissipating on August 10, Irene peaked as a Category 2 hurricane on August 16. Irene persisted for 14 days as a tropical system, the longest duration of any storm of the 2005 season. It was the ninth named storm and fourth hurricane of the record-breaking season.

 
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Nature and flora

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was an extremely destructive and deadly Category 5 hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast of the United States in August 2005, causing catastrophic damage from central Florida to eastern Texas. Subsequent flooding, caused largely as a result of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system around the city of New Orleans, precipitated most of the loss of lives. The storm was the third major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the third most intense tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in the United States, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille in 1969.

 
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Nature and flora, Science

Tropical cyclone

A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, and a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean; while in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean, comparable storms are referred to simply as "tropical cyclones" or "severe cyclonic storms".

 
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Nature and flora

2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami

The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku was a magnitude 9.0–9.1 (Mw) undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday 11 March 2011, with the epicentre approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku and the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 29 km (18 mi). The earthquake is often referred to in Japan as the Great East Japan Earthquake and is also known as the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, and the 3.11 earthquake. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture, and which, in the Sendai area, traveled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland. The earthquake moved Honshu 2.4 m (8 ft) east, shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in), increased earth's rotational speed by 1.8 µs per day, and generated infrasound waves detected in perturbations of the low-orbiting GOCE satellite. Initially, the earthquake caused sinking of part of Honshu's Pacific coast by up to roughly a metre, but after about three years, the coast rose back and kept on rising to exceed its original height.

 
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Nature and flora

Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan, known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. On making landfall, Haiyan devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,300 people in that country alone. In terms of JTWC-estimated 1-minute sustained winds, Haiyan is tied with Meranti for being the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record. In January 2014, bodies were still being found.

 
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Nature and flora

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde hurricane, the strongest observed in the Atlantic in terms of maximum sustained winds since Wilma, and the strongest storm on record to exist in the open Atlantic region. Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands on record, followed by Hurricane Maria two weeks later, and is the second-costliest Caribbean hurricane on record, after Maria. The ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, second major hurricane, and first Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage throughout its long lifetime, particularly in the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys. It was also the most intense hurricane to strike the continental United States since Katrina in 2005, the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in the same year, and the first Category 4 hurricane to strike the state since Charley in 2004.

 
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Nature and flora

1883 eruption of Krakatoa

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Dutch East Indies began in the afternoon of Sunday, 26 August 1883, and peaked in the late morning of Monday, 27 August when over 70% of the island and its surrounding archipelago were destroyed as it collapsed into a caldera. Additional seismic activity was reported to have continued until February 1884, though reports of seismic activity after October 1883 were later dismissed by Rogier Verbeek's investigation into the eruption. The 1883 eruption was one of the deadliest and most destructive volcanic events in recorded history. At least 36,417 deaths are attributed to the eruption and the tsunamis it created. Significant additional effects were also felt around the world in the days and weeks after the volcano's eruption.

 
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Nature and flora

1906 San Francisco earthquake

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18 with an estimated moment magnitude of 7.9 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). High intensity shaking was felt from Eureka on the North Coast to the Salinas Valley, an agricultural region to the south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Devastating fires soon broke out in the city and lasted for several days. Thousands of homes were dismantled. As a result, up to 3,000 people died and over 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed. The events are remembered as one of the worst and deadliest earthquakes in the history of the United States. The death toll remains the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California's history and high in the lists of American disasters.

 
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Nature and flora

Extratropical cyclone

Extratropical cyclones, sometimes called mid-latitude cyclones or wave cyclones, are low-pressure areas which, along with the anticyclones of high-pressure areas, drive the weather over much of the Earth. Extratropical cyclones are capable of producing anything from cloudiness and mild showers to heavy gales, thunderstorms, blizzards, and tornadoes. These types of cyclones are defined as large scale (synoptic) low pressure weather systems that occur in the middle latitudes of the Earth. In contrast with tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones produce rapid changes in temperature and dew point along broad lines, called weather fronts, about the center of the cyclone.

 
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Nature and flora

1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens

On May 18, 1980, a major volcanic eruption occurred at Mount St. Helens, a volcano located in Skamania County, in the State of Washington. The eruption was the most significant volcanic eruption to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states since the much smaller 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California. It has often been declared as the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U.S. history. The eruption was preceded by a two-month series of earthquakes and steam-venting episodes, caused by an injection of magma at shallow depth below the volcano that created a large bulge and a fracture system on the mountain's north slope.

 
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Nature and flora

Typhoon

A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops between 180° and 100°E in the Northern Hemisphere. This region is referred to as the Northwestern Pacific Basin, and is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth, accounting for almost one-third of the world's annual tropical cyclones. For organizational purposes, the northern Pacific Ocean is divided into three regions: the eastern, central, and western. The Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) for tropical cyclone forecasts is in Japan, with other tropical cyclone warning centers for the northwest Pacific in Hawaii, the Philippines and Hong Kong. While the RSMC names each system, the main name list itself is coordinated among 18 countries that have territories threatened by typhoons each year. Only the Philippines use their own naming list for systems approaching the country.

 
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Nature and flora

1960 Valdivia earthquake

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean earthquake of 22 May is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. Various studies have placed it at 9.4–9.6 on the moment magnitude scale. It occurred in the afternoon, and lasted approximately 10 minutes. The resulting tsunami affected southern Chile, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, eastern New Zealand, southeast Australia and the Aleutian Islands.

 
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Nature and flora

2010 Haiti earthquake

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne (Ouest), approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.

 
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Nature and flora

April 2015 Nepal earthquake

The April 2015 Nepal earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. It occurred at 11:56 Nepal Standard Time on 25 April, with a magnitude of 7.8Mw or 8.1Ms and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of VIII (Severe). Its epicenter was east of Gorkha District at Barpak, Gorkha, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 8.2 km (5.1 mi). It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. The ground motion recorded in the capital of Nepal was of low frequency which, along with its occurrence at an hour where many people in rural areas were working outdoors, decreased the loss of property and human lives.