Taxonomy term

natural hazards

Risky business: Modeling catastrophes

Natural hazards — earthquakes, tropical cyclones and thunderstorms, for example — occur with considerable frequency around the world. Fortunately, most events are either not intense enough or too remote to cause damage. But the probability that a given natural hazard could become a natural disaster is higher today than at any previous point in history.

30 Sep 2012

Voices: Italian quakes and deaths point to industrial facilities as death traps

On May 29, eighteen people died in northern Italy when a magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck near the town of Mirandola. Arguably, these deaths were preventable, and they bring up the questions of how we can prevent such deaths in the future. Building codes are key in protecting people. If the most modern buildings collapse while old ones remain standing, something is wrong.

06 Jun 2012

Kilauea's Explosive Past - and Future

The explosive history of Kilauea is not well known. Today, it’s renowned for lobes of slow-moving, calm lava, which ooze out of cracks in the flanks of the volcano, pour downslope and eventually flow into the sea, where the lava cools and gradually enlarges the island. But in the past, Kilauea has erupted violently — more often and for much longer periods than was previously thought. Now, researchers have learned that over the past 2,500 years, violent eruptive periods lasting centuries have alternated with periods of quiet flows. Once an explosive period has begun, conditions on the Big Island will be very different from those on which the past hazard assessment was based.

17 May 2012

Blogging on EARTH: Panelists weigh in on tsunami preparedness policy

“It is not a question of whether it will happen, but when it will happen,” said John Schelling, addressing the room at a Congressional Hazards Caucus briefing last week, as experts discussed the need for more tsunami preparedness in the United States.

23 Mar 2012

Dangerous dust: Erionite - an asbestos-like mineral causing a cancer epidemic in Turkey - is found in at least 13 states

As North Dakota’s state geologist, Ed Murphy has spent a fair amount of time mapping the geology of the Killdeer Mountains in the western part of the state, hiking up and down buttes of the White River Group and the Arikaree Formation. In the 1980s, he and colleagues mapped large deposits of rocks bearing erionite — a zeolite mineral formed when volcanic ash is altered by water — that may have had some commercial use.

31 Jan 2012

Benchmarks: December 16, 1811-February 7, 1812: The New Madrid earthquakes strike the Heartland

This winter marks the bicentennial of a series of powerful intraplate earthquakes that occurred in the central United States over a two-month period beginning on Dec. 16, 1811. Named for New Madrid, one of the settlements on the Mississippi River, these tremors were among the largest historic earthquakes to occur east of the Rocky Mountains.

16 Dec 2011

Blogging on EARTH: AGU: Japan tsunami actually made population more vulnerable?

Usually, when a major natural disaster strikes, a population becomes more alert and aware. People know what warning signs to watch for; they know what to do should such an event occur again. They increase their chances of staying alive. For example, intergenerational knowledge of tsunamis passed down by island tribes around the Indian Ocean is credited with saving lives during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

05 Dec 2011

Highlights of 2011: New Zealand: After 8,000 aftershocks, when will it stop?

During the past year, many of the 386,000 inhabitants of New Zealand’s second-largest city, Christchurch, have thought and said one phrase over and over again: “When will it stop?” Starting in September 2010, several major earthquakes and more than 8,000 aftershocks have rocked the city and region. Rebuilding has started, been interrupted, started again and been halted again. People have been living without water, sewer, roads, offices and homes for so long that it may be hard to remember what “normal” is.

23 Nov 2011

Cantabrians keep humor in the hardship

Even though the inhabitants of Christchurch (Cantabrians) have had a nonstop year of hardships, they have kept their humor. A local named Bruce Raines started a “You know you are from Christchurch when…” Facebook page and solicited comments, from which he then published a book.

“You know you are from Christchurch when…”

  1. Half the kids are from broken homes.

  2. You tell the kids that Santa will land on the lawn where the chimney is now.

23 Nov 2011

Hazardous Living: Collision forces behind devastating Turkey quake

By Tuesday evening local time, close to 500 people have been confirmed dead and more than 1,300 injured following a major magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck eastern Turkey on Sunday at 1:41 p.m. local time. Countless people are still trapped under debris after the shallow quake, only 20 kilometers deep, leveled at least 2,260 buildings in Van, Ercis and other cities and villages, according to news reports.

25 Oct 2011

Pages