Extreme Natural Disasters!

Extreme Natural Disasters


by Lucas V



1. Tsunamis (page 2)

2. Volcanoes (page 6)

3. Tornadoes (page 10)

4. Earthquakes (page 14)

5. Hurricanes (page17)

6. Glossary (page 21)

7. Works Cited (page 22)

8. Index (page 23)

     Did you know that tsunamis can carry billions of gallons of water into a city? Or that volcanoes can shoot dangerous particles 20 miles up into the sky? Find out more about extreme weather and the most deadly disasters of all time.




  1.1 General information


     Let’s start with tsunamis. Tsunamis are devastating water storms with big waves that wash over and flood the land. They are created when a body of water is displaced and underwater explosions have the power to generate them. Sometimes, earthquakes can trigger tsunamis (they are the aftermath of an earthquake). A normal speed of tsunamis is about 90 km/h but it can reach 970 km/h. Just a fun fact: tsunami is a Japanese word and it means "harbor wave". 

     Here are some of the worst tsunamis of all time:


1.2 Top Five Worst Tsunamis


     The fifth worst tsunami ever recorded is the one in Enshunada Sea, Japan that happened on September 20th, 1498. An earthquake caused tsunami waves along the coasts of Kii, Mikawa, Suruga, Izu, and Sagami. Towns were flooded and at least 31,000 people were killed. 


     As for number 4, the tsunami in Krakatau, Indonesia occurred on August 27th, 1883. This tsunami is Poseidon trying to wipe out the entire land. It is linked to the explosion of the Krakatau caldera volcano. It demolished the towns of Anjer and Merak and it is also said to have killed one person in Sri Lanka. In the end, a total of 40,000 people died. 





     The next biggest one is the Portuguese Tsunami from November 1st, 1755. A magnitude 8.5 earthquake caused a series of three huge waves to strike several towns on the west coast of Portugal. The earthquake and tsunami together killed 60,000 people. 


The Sumatra Idonesia Tsunami, December 26, 2004

japan-tsunami9.jpg (444×323)

     Now, let's talk about the tsunami in Sumatra, Idonesia that happened on December 26th, 2004. This tsunami is also the most recorded ever. The fault zone that caused the tsunami was roughly 1,300 kilometers long. The waves were as tall as 30 meters (100 feet). An estimated $10 billion damage is atributed to the disaster, and about 230,000 people died.

     Last comes the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami that occurred on March 11th, 2011. The earthquake was at a depth of 24.4 kilometers and the tsunami waves hit the east coast of Japan. This was the largest earthquake to ever hit Japan in recorded history. It is also documented as the seventh largest earthquake in the world. The earthquake and tsunami led to about 15,000 dead or injured, about 2,800 people went missing, and 250,000 builldings were damaged and destroyed to rubble. It also caused a near nuclear disaster. 

The Tohoku Tsunami,

March 11,  2011


2.1 General Information


     So, tsunamis were fun to learn about. Well, here is an even better topic! Our next category is volcanoes!


     A volcanic eruption is when a volcano is active and furiously releases hot lava and poisonous gases. Some eruptions are high temperature clouds of ash and steam. Volcanoes erupt in different ways: some are explosive, others are effusive. Also, a volcano eruption changes the land forever.




Mt. Tambora Eruption

Indonesia, 1815



2.2 Top Five Worst Volcanoes


     The fifth worst volcano eruption was on the Ambrym Island, in the Republic of Vanuatu, in the year 50 A.D. This island witnessed one of the most impressive eruptions in history, one that sent a wave of scalding ash and dust down the mountain and formed a caldera, 7.5 miles wide. This volcano is as active as a cuckoo clock! It has erupted 50 times since 1774.

   Next is the Ilopango Volcano, in El Salvador that erupted in 450 A.D. This volcano only had two eruptions: the first one was known as a doozy. It blanketed much of central and western El Salvador. and it destroyed many Mayan civilizations. The volcano is now home to one of El Salvador’s largest lakes.



   The third one is the mighty Mt. Thera, located in Greece, from the year 1610 B.C. Geologists think that the Aegean Islands volcano Thera exploded with the energy of several hundred atomic bombs in a fraction of a second! Even though there was no recorded history back then, people say it was one of the biggest explosions ever experienced.



     Next is the great Changbaishan of China, in the year 1000 A.D.. This volcano spewed volcanic material as far as northern Japan (750 miles)! This volcano was a monster! The eruption also created a large caldera 3 miles across and ½ mile deep which is now filled with the blue waters of Lake Tianchi. People said they spotted unknown creatures in the waters of Tianchi.

     Finally, the worst is Mt. Tambora of Indonesia in 1815. The explosion of Mt. Tambora is the largest ever recorded. It exploded so loudly that it was heard on Sumatra Island, more than 1,200 miles away! Clouds of heavy ash descended on many islands and an estimated 71,000 people died. The volcano is still active and one of the tallest peaks in Indonesia.



3.1 General Information


    The third topic is tornadoes. Here is a short description. Tornadoes are violent spinning clouds of air that grab objects up into their cloud. They can go between a whopping 50 and 300 mph! People claim that tornadoes sound like a train: "whiz,woo". Also, tornadoes can occur one at a time or in tornado outbreaks, also known as “twin” tornadoes. They are rated in scales from EFO to EF5, EFO being minor with no damage and EF5 causing major damage (EF = Enhanced Fujita)


3.2 Top Five Worst Tornadoes


     Number five of the worst tornadoes is the 1973 Manikganj, Singair and Nawabganj tornado. Bangladesh is one of the most tornado-affected countries in the world. In 1973 three areas were destroyed when a wide tornado hit their path and the whole large village of Balurchar was wiped out along with major parts of nine other towns. The death toll was 681.


 The Manikganj, Singair and Nawabganj Tornado, 1973


     Now comes the 1996 Madarganj to Mirzapor Tornado. An estimated 700 people were killed when a huge single tornado reached land from the areas of Madarganj to Mirzapor. This incident left 30,000 homes completely damaged.

     Next is the 1925 Tri-State Tornado. This tornado holds the record of being the worst and deadliest tornado in the U.S. It hit the highest rating of the fujita scale rating – an F5. The tornado lasted for 3.5 hours and generated eight more tornadoes! The total number of dead people recorded was 750.


 1925 Tri-State



     Number two is the 1969 East Pakistan Tornado. An estimated 660 people were killed and 4,000 were injured. On that same day another tornado hit Homna Upazilla during which 223 people died. That adds up to a total number of 883 deaths.


     Now comes the strongest one - the 1989 Daulatpur-Saturia Tornado, the deadliest tornado known to humankind. The draught caused the tornado due to the atmospheric conditions over the land. Thus, the already drought-affected areas were smacked by another natural disaster, a tornado. The estimated size of this tornado was 1 mile wide. In a matter of minutes, the horrific twister claimed the lives of 1,300 people. This tornado was furious like a lion in battle. It also left 12,000 people injured. The towns were completely destroyed, and 80,000 people were left homeless.

Daulatpur-Saturia Tornado, 1989


4.1 General Information


     Tornadoes, check! Next topic – earthquakes! An  earthquake is a powerful release of energy in the Earth's crust, that roughly shakes the earth. It feels like shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. A powerful earthquake can cause tsunamis (as was mentioned in the section on tsunamis), landslides and sometimes even floods.

     A seismograph records the magnitude of earthquakes on the Richter scale.  If the magnitude is less than three, it is mostly imperceptible, but if it is seven, then there is serious damage. Now, that you have a description of the earthquakes, I will list some of the worst earthquakes in history.



The Haiti Earthquake, 2010



4.2 Top Five Worst Earthquakes


     The Haiti Earthquake from 2010 is the fifth worst earthquake. According to official estimates, more than 230,000 people died along with 300,000 injured, 1.3 million were displaced, and 97,294 houses were demolished. This includes at least 4 people killed by a local tsunami.


      Sumatra, Indonesia, December 2004. This was the largest earthquake in the world since 1900. In total, 227,898 people were killed or went missing, and about 1.7 million were displaced. This earthquake caused a tsunami that affected 14 countries. By January, the death toll was 286,000.


     Allepo, Syria, August 9th, 1138, A.D. The walls of Aleppo crumbled and rocks cascaded into the streets. The Aleppo citadel collapsed, killing hundreds of residents and yet, the most affected town was not Aleppo. Several small towns and manned forts were reduced to rubble. The quake could be felt 220 miles away from the south.


     Next in line is the earthquake in Tangshan, China, on July 27th 1976. Damage extended as far as Beijing. The total number of deaths recorded was 655,000, probably the biggest death toll of earthquakes in the last four centuries. It is also the second greatest earthquake in recorded history.


     Finally, Shensi, China, January 23rd, 1556 – an earthquake of a magnitude of approximately 8, and 830,000 deaths. Also, the city walls collapsed. The damage extended as far away as 270 miles northeast of the epicenter. This earthquake also included ground fissures, uplift, subsidence, liquefaction, and landslides.



5.1 General Information


     Earthquakes no more! Next and last topic is hurricanes! Again, here is a short description.


     The hurricane is an enormous cyclone storm that form over oceans. Swoosh! It is caused by water that evaporates above the ocean and turns into a storm. When winds are stronger than 74 mph, it is considered a hurricane. It is rated on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest, and 5 being catastrophic. Here is a list of the top five hurricanes.


5.2 Top Five Worst Hurricanes


     The fifth most dreadful hurricane is the one in Galveston, Texas, in the year 1900. The Galveston Hurricane made landfall on September 8th, 1900. It brought a 15 foot tall storm surge along with winds at 135 mph, making it a category 4 hurricane. The surge was so powerful that it washed away the entire island, knocking buildings off their foundations, and then pounding them into scraps of wood. Over 3,600 houses were destroyed. The death toll for this hurricane was over 6,000.

     Then comes the Great Hurricane of 1780 which devastated Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic Lesser Antilles, Florida, and possible other states. Total damages were unknown, but the total death toll was 22,000 people.

     Next comes Hurricane Ike in from September 2008. Hurricane Ike is also the top third most destructive hurricane in the U.S. It affected not only American states (Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas), but also Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In the end, the total amount of damages was $32 billion. 



Do you know what the costliest hurricane in the USA was?


Katrina was also the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, resulting in $108 billion in damage. It far surpassed all other hurricane costs and is followed by 2012's Hurricane Sandy, which caused $50 billion in damage and resulted in at least 147 deaths


"Finally, about three miles from my property, we were stopped by debris: the remains of what had once been beautiful homes, with tattered curtains blowing from shattered windows and overturned furniture covered in mud. We walked through the debris, which was sometimes head-high."

     Next, the mighty wrath of Hurricane Andrew. Wreaking havoc across the northwestern Bahamas, southern Florida, and southwest Louisiana, Andrew caused a $26.5 billion damage. Despite the massive destruction, the death toll was only 65.

     Last is the great Hurricane Katrina. At least 1,833 people died from the hurricane and the aftermath. The estimated cost was $81 billion. New Orleans was completely flooded for weeks. As a result, over 1 million people moved to other parts of the country. By January 2006, only 200,000 people were living in New Orleans.


     In conclusion, natural disasters can cause significant damage and they are very costly. Entire towns  and communities are wiped out sometimes, people lose not only homes and belongings, they also lose their identities if they are left without a community. There are many tragedies and lost lives in these horrible storms. A lost life can never be replaced, but everything else can be rebuilt. Please consider joining towns and organizations in rebuilding communities! 




A tsunami, also known as a seismic sea wave, is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake.



An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the perceptible shaking of the surface of the Earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves.



A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.


Earthquake Magnitude

Magnitude is a measure of the amount of energy released during an earthquake



A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.



A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, 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 names such as hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone. 


Death toll

Death toll is the number of deaths resulting from a particular cause, especially an accident, battle, or natural disaster.



"11 of the Deadliest, Most Destructive Hurricanes Ever." Ranker. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. 
"The 10 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 10 June 2011. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.
"The Top 10 Deadliest Earthquakes in History." Msnbc.com. N.p., 11 Apr. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. 
"Top 10 Deadliest Tornadoes in World History." TheRichest Top 10 Deadliest Tornadoes in World History Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.
"Still Struggling, Katrina's Victims Tell Stories of Survival." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.
"The Worst Volcanic Eruptions in History." Ranker. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.
"The Worst Tsunamis in History." Ranker. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.
"The Deadliest Tsunami in History?" National Geographic. National Geographic Society, n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.



cyclone .......... 18
death toll .......... 11, 16, 19, 20
disaster .......... 1, 5, 13, 21
earthquake .......... 14, 15, 16, 17
earthquake magniturde .......... 17
hurricane .......... 18, 19, 20
massive destruction .......... 20
tsunami .......... 2, 3, 4, 5
tornado .......... 10, 11, 12, 13
volcano .......... 6, 7, 8, 9



cyclone .......... 18
death toll .......... 11, 16, 19, 20
disaster .......... 1, 5, 13, 21
earthquake .......... 14, 15, 16, 17
earthquake magniturde .......... 17
hurricane .......... 18, 19, 20
massive destruction .......... 20
tsunami .......... 2, 3, 4, 5
tornado .......... 10, 11, 12, 13
volcano .......... 6, 7, 8, 9