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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 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

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.

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.

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


A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex that occurs over a body of water. Some are connected to a cumulus congestus cloud, some to a cumuliform cloud and some to a cumulonimbus cloud. In the common form, it is a non-supercell tornado over water.

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.

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

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.

Nature and flora, Disasters

Johnstown Flood

The Johnstown Flood occurred on May 31, 1889, after the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam on the Little Conemaugh River 14 miles (23 km) upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The dam broke after several days of extremely heavy rainfall, releasing 14.55 million cubic meters of water. With a volumetric flow rate that temporarily equaled the average flow rate of the Mississippi River, 2,209 people, according to one account, lost their lives, and the flood accounted for $17 million of damage.

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.

Nature and flora

1999 Odisha cyclone

The 1999 Odisha cyclone was the strongest recorded tropical cyclone in the North Indian Ocean and among the most destructive in the region. The 1999 Odisha cyclone organized into a tropical depression in the Andaman Sea on 25 October, though its origins could be traced back to an area of convection in the Sulu Sea four days prior. The disturbance gradually strengthened as it took a west-northwesterly path, reaching cyclonic storm strength the next day. Aided by highly favorable conditions, the storm rapidly intensified, attaining super cyclonic storm intensity on 28 October, before peaking on the next day with winds of 260 km/h (160 mph) and a record-low pressure of 912 mbar. The storm maintained this intensity as it made landfall on Odisha on 29 October. The cyclone steadily weakened due to persistent land interaction and dry air, remaining quasi-stationary for two days before slowly drifting offshore as a much weaker system; the storm dissipated on 4 November over the Bay of Bengal.

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.

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.

Nature and flora

1883 eruption of Krakatoa

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa (Krakatau) 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.