Natural Disasters

Natural disasters have always occurred and will continue to occur. The disasters, often local or regional in their occurrence, affect tens of thousands of people, often poor people and businesses who have substandard housing and buildings. The disasters kill many people and deprive others of food, housing, clean water, and sanitary conditions.

Scientists are studying natural disasters to learn how to predict their occurrence, how to prevent wide-scale damage, and how to provide food, water, and shelter to those displaced by quakes. Here are links to some of their research.
In 1991, it was a disaster for the villages nearby the erupting Philippine volcano Pinatubo. But the effects were felt even as far away as Europe. The volcano threw up many tons of ash and other particles into the atmosphere causing less sunlight than usual to reach Earth's surface. For the first few years after the eruption, global temperatures dropped by half a degree. In general, volcanic eruptions can have a strong short-term impact on climate. Conversely, the idea that climate may also affect volcanic eruptions on a global scale and over long periods of time is completely new. Researchers at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany) and Harvard University in Massachusetts (USA) have now found strong evidence for this relationship from major volcanic eruptions around the Pacific Ocean over the past 1 million years. They have presented their results in the latest issue of the international journal "Geology."
Such beliefs aside, what we know with certainty is that Earth has a tremendous capacity to generate natural disasters on any day of any year. For this reason, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists continue to look for ways to better forecast a wide range of natural hazards and protect our communities.
The Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, which hit the north-east coast of Japan with a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale, was one of the largest ocean-trench earthquakes ever recorded in Japan. The tsunami caused huge damage, including 15,861 dead and 3018 missing persons, and, as of 6 June 2012, 388,783 destroyed homes.

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