Tsunamis

It have occurred often throughout history.So frequently across the world  in fact, that they invented the word specifically for the phenomenon: ‘tsu‘ meaning harbour and ‘nami‘ meaning wave.

Sumatra, Indonesia – 26 December 2004

The 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra was estimated to occur at a depth of 30 km. The fault zone that caused the tsunami was roughly 1300 km long, vertically displacing the sea floor by several metres along that length. The ensuing tsunami was as tall as 50 m, reaching 5 km inland near Meubolah, Sumatra. This tsunami is also the most widely recorded, with nearly one thousand combined tide gauge and eyewitness measurements from around the world reporting a rise in wave height, including places in the US, the UK and Antarctica. An estimated US$10b of damages is attributed to the disaster, with around 230,000 people reported dead.

Avalanche

1970 Huascarán-Ancash, Peru, May/June 1970 (20,000 deaths)

The worst natural disaster in the history of Peru occurred on May 31, 1970, and is known as the Ancash Earthquake, or the Great Peruvian Earthquake. The earthquake triggered an avalanche that alone claimed the lives of almost 20,000 people, making it the deadliest avalanche in the recorded history of humankind. The epicenter of the earthquake was located 21 miles off the coast of Peru in the Pacific Ocean, and the Peruvian regions of Ancash and La Libertad were the worst affected in this disaster. A massive avalanche struck the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca when the earthquake destabilized the northern walls of Mount Huascarán. A large chunk of ice and snow, 910 meters wide and 1.6 kilometers long, sped down the mountain at speeds of 280 to 335 kilometers per hour. As it moved, it completely devastated all that came in its path, with its massive volumes of ice, water, mud, and rock alike.

Volcanic eruption

The biggest volcanic eruption in human history occurred in 1815 on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, leaving 100,000 dead. There was between six months and three years of steaming and small eruptions after the initial one. Because of the 400 million ton cloud of gas the volcano created, the earth began to cool and 1816 became known as “The Year Without Summer” because of the low temperatures, which killed crops and led to mass starvation.

Wildfires

THE BLACK SATURDAY BUSHFIRES – 2009

Whether sparked by Mother Nature or by the carelessness or maliciousness of man, these fires have ripped across the Earth with alarming ferocity and deadly consequences.

This wildfire was actually a swarm of numerous bush fires blazing across Victoria, Australia, numbering as many as 400 at the beginning and stretching from Feb. 7 to March 14, 2009 (Black Saturday refers to the day the blazes began). When the smoke cleared, 173 people were dead (though just one firefighter) and 414 injured, not to mention millions of Australia’s trademark wildlife killed or injured. More than 1.1 million acres were charred, as well as 3,500 structures in dozens of towns. The causes of the various blazes ranged from fallen power lines to arson, but a major drought and a sweltering heatwave combined for the perfect storm.

Earthquake

Chile, 1960 – Magnitude 9.5

Approximately 1,655 people were killed during the largest earthquake ever recorded. Thousands more were injured, and millions were left homeless. Southern Chile suffered $550 million USD in damage.

The quake triggered a tsunami that killed 61 people in Hawaii, 138 in Japan and 32 in the Philippines.

The earthquake ruptured where the Nazca Plate dives underneath the South American Plate, on the Peru-Chile Trench.

 

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