Taxonomy term

natural disasters

Highlights of 2010: Definitive statements: a new trend?

“This is the way it was.” Or: “This is what is happening.” Hmmm. Scientists don’t usually make such definitive statements, given that in science, there are almost always caveats. Yet in the last year, such statements have been issued by several large groups of scientists who have come together to support a certain point of view. Are scientists feeling the need to dig in their heels because of public pressures? Or are we actually reaching some consensus?

10 Dec 2010

Hazardous Living: Bringing down the house at Pompeii

Heavy rains last week caused the roof of a 2,000-year-old frescoed house at Pompeii to crash in, much to the dismay of the Italian government. The house, thought to have been erected just before Vesuvius buried Pompeii under six meters of ash in A.D. 79, was outside an amphitheatre and had been used by gladiators before going into battle. According to an Associated Press story, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called the cave-in a "disgrace for Italy," and he demanded an explanation.

11 Nov 2010

Impossible Odds, Irrepressible Hope: Pakistan's water woes and the science that can solve them

Most residents of developed countries don’t think about their water running out or worry about their water leading to the death of their children. In Pakistan, those are distinct possibilities.

05 Oct 2010

Hazardous Living: New Orleans, five years after Katrina

This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s strike on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

27 Aug 2010

Baja quake sheds light on liquefaction

Data collected by a unique array of instruments located near the epicenter of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck Baja California April 4 are providing scientists with new insight into the phenomenon of liquefaction, a potentially dangerous side effect of major earthquakes.

09 Jul 2010

Voices: Italian seismologists: What should they have said?

In Italy, seismologists who failed to predict the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009 could face manslaughter charges.

01 Jul 2010

Gulf oil spill threatens subsurface biodiversity

Brown pelicans mired in oily mud along the Louisiana coast are icons of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, daily reminders of the ongoing disaster’s impact on the Gulf coast. Yet, says a leading marine ecologist, the greater long-term danger to wildlife may be occurring out of sight, deep beneath the oily surface of the water.

14 Jun 2010

Slippery Slopes: How do we insure against landslides?

Feb. 5, 2010: A landslide in Maggie Valley, N.C., damages three homes after wet weather destabilizes the mountainside. No one is injured, but officials must dig out one family from its home. Feb. 6, 2010: A storm causes landslides in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., damaging at least 43 homes. The event is set off by heavy winter rains that hit hillsides already denuded of vegetation by wildfires the previous summer. Feb. 6, 2010: City officials evacuate 11 families from their homes in Wheelwright, Ky., a month after a landslide began slowly ripping apart the hillside.

02 Jun 2010

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