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Natural disasters

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Nature and flora

1994 Northridge earthquake

The 1994 Northridge earthquake was a magnitude of 6.7 (Mw), blind thrust earthquake that occurred on January 17, 1994, at 4:30:55 a.m. PST in the San Fernando Valley region of the County of Los Angeles. Its epicenter was in Reseda, a neighborhood in the north-central Valley. The quake had a duration of approximately 10–20 seconds, and its peak ground acceleration of 1.8g (16.7 m/s2) was the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America. Strong ground motion was felt as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada, about 220 miles (360 km) from the epicenter. The peak ground velocity at the Rinaldi Receiving Station was 183 cm/s, the fastest ever recorded.

Nature and flora

1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred in Northern California on October 17 at 5:04 p.m. local time. The shock was centered in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park approximately 10 mi (16 km) northeast of Santa Cruz on a section of the San Andreas Fault System and was named for the nearby Loma Prieta Peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With an Mw magnitude of 6.9 and a maximum Modified Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), the shock was responsible for 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries. The Loma Prieta segment of the San Andreas Fault System had been relatively inactive since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake until two moderate foreshocks occurred in June 1988 and again in August 1989.

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. 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.

Nature and flora

1960 Valdivia earthquake

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake or the Great Chilean earthquake on 22 May 1960 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.

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, the Great Sendai Earthquake, the Great Tōhoku Earthquake, and the 3.11 earthquake.

Nature and flora

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana in August 2005, causing catastrophic damage, particularly in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Subsequent flooding, caused largely as a result of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system known as levees 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 fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous United States, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Michael in 2018.

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 northern Sumatra. It was an undersea megathrust earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.1–9.3 Mw, reaching a Mercalli intensity up to IX in certain areas. The earthquake was caused by a rupture along the fault between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate.

Nature and flora

2001 Nisqually earthquake

The 2001 Nisqually earthquake occurred at 10:54:32 local time on February 28, 2001. The intraslab earthquake had a moment magnitude of 6.8 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). The epicenter was in the southern Puget Sound, northeast of Olympia, but the shock was felt in Oregon, Canada, eastern Washington, and Idaho. This was one of several large earthquakes that occurred in the Puget Sound region in the prior 52 years and caused property damage valued at between one and four billion dollars. One person died of a heart attack and several hundred were injured.

Nature and flora

1992 Landers earthquake

The 1992 Landers earthquake occurred on June 28 with an epicenter near the town of Landers, California. The shock had a moment magnitude of 7.3 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent).

Nature and flora

1964 Alaska earthquake

The 1964 Alaskan earthquake, also known as the Great Alaskan earthquake and Good Friday earthquake, occurred at 5:36 PM AKST on Good Friday, March 27 spring-tide/full-moon. Across south-central Alaska, ground fissures, collapsing structures, and tsunamis resulting from the earthquake caused about 139 deaths.

Nature and flora

1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake

The 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake occurred in the southern San Gabriel Valley and surrounding communities of southern California at 7:42 a.m. PDT on October 1. The moderate 5.9 magnitude blind thrust earthquake was centered several miles north of Whittier in the town of Rosemead, had a relatively shallow depth, and was felt throughout southern California and southern Nevada. A large number of homes and businesses were impacted, along with roadway disruptions, mainly in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Damage estimates ranged from $213–358 million, with 200 injuries, three directly-related deaths, and five additional fatalities that were associated with the event.

Nature and flora

1971 San Fernando earthquake

The 1971 San Fernando earthquake occurred in the early morning of February 9 in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California. The unanticipated thrust earthquake had a magnitude of 6.5 on the Ms scale, and a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). The event was one in a series that affected the Los Angeles area in the late 20th century. Damage was locally severe in the northern San Fernando Valley and surface faulting was extensive to the south of the epicenter in the mountains, as well as urban settings along city streets and neighborhoods. Uplift and other effects affected private homes and businesses.

Nature and flora

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey of 2017 is tied with 2005's Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting $125 billion in damage, primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding in the Houston metropolitan area. It was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year span in which no hurricanes made landfall at the intensity of a major hurricane throughout the country. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) of rain as the system slowly meandered over eastern Texas and adjacent waters, causing unprecedented flooding. With peak accumulations of 60.58 in (1,539 mm), Harvey was the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the United States. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes which displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.

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".

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.