Natural Disasters

Unpredictable forces of nature like tornadoes and hurricanes can have a devastating impact on humans and our environment. Learn how natural disasters work and how science aims to better predict them.

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The 'Big One' Was No Match for Alaskans

Thanks in part to strict building codes, damage from the November 7.0 earthquake was relatively minimal.

Quiz: Are You Prepared for the Next Disaster?

From hurricanes, to earthquakes, to tornadoes, there's no shortage of potential disasters that can ruin homes and devastate lives. Think you’re ready to survive the next disaster? Take this quiz and find out.

The Logistics of Evacuating Entire U.S. Coastlines

When Mother Nature is at her worst, the state and federal governments often step in to protect U.S. citizens. But moving masses of people away from the coast isn't an easy feat.

California Burning: Why the Carr Wildfire Is a Whopper

The Carr fire in Northern California is currently the sixth-largest in the state's history. How did it get so out of control?

Do We Need a Category 6 for Hurricanes?

Or do we just stick with the five categories we already have?

Swamps and Wildfires: A Dangerous Combination

A fire can burn for years, yes years, in a swamp. What's the deal?

Why Flash Floods Are So Dangerous

Both dry and over-saturated soil can contribute to flash flooding. Can anything be done to prevent them from becoming catastrophic?

Fissures, Quakes and Lava: Explaining Kilauea's Volcanic Crisis

To date 14 massive fissures have opened up near Kilauea, and the Big Island has been rocked by repeated earthquakes. Do these geological events foreshadow a massive volcanic eruption?

Infrasound Can Detect Tornadoes an Hour Before They Form

We may not be able to hear infrasound, but we sure can use it to detect tornadoes.

Scientists Record Volcanic Thunder for the First Time

Volcanic eruptions are loud. Very loud. But nobody's ever been able to capture the roar of the thunder they create. Until now.

Why King Tides Are Flooding Coastal Cities More Often

Is climate change to blame for king tides flooding coastal cities more often? Some scientists say yes.

Marijuana Farmers Hit Hard by California Wildfires

California cannabis farmers could lose everything in the wildfires.

Centuries of Volcano Death Statistics, Newly Analyzed for Your Reading Pleasure

New research digs into historic volcano fatalities to explore how, where and whom a volcano is most likely to kill.

Why Some People Choose to Shelter In Place

When a major storm is barreling down, the reasons why some people choose to shelter in place are complicated.

Evacuee or Refugee: What Do We Call People Displaced by Natural Disasters?

Words matter when talking about those seeking shelter from the storm. What's the difference between hurricane evacuees and refugees?

Why Is Hurricane Irma So Powerful?

Historic Hurricane Irma is being supercharged by the effects of climate change heating Earth's oceans.

What It’s Like to Experience a Category 5 Hurricane

'You really can't describe to anybody what it's like to sit through a hurricane,' says Ruth Clark, who lived through Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.

What Hurricane Categories Really Mean

Hurricanes are the strongest storms on the planet. How we categorize them has helped save lives.

Why the Inside of a Tornado Gets Super Cold, Leaves You Gasping for Air

Researchers from Montreal's Concordia University have figured out why the air inside a tornado vortex is cooler and less dense than the surrounding air.

Is a Double Hurricane Something You Should Start Freaking Out About?

What happens when two unpredictable storms show up to dance? And what about when one finally heads out to sea — then abruptly turns inland again for a one-two punch?

Could Humans Force a Volcanic Eruption?

It's every evil mad scientist's dream. Could it ever be a reality?

China's Great Flood May No Longer Be Just a Myth

According to Chinese mythology, a great flood once swept the land. Now geologists have found reason to believe that the legendary catastrophe was real.

Saguaro Cacti Thrive When the World's Massive Volcanoes Erupt, Study Finds

New research links massive historic volcanic eruptions in Asia to a baby boom generation of the iconic Sonoran Desert cactus.

10 Times Humanity Fought Against Nature (and Won)

Trying to wrangle Mother Nature has successfully saved millions of lives, even if, at other times, it's quite literally blown up in our faces.

Evidence Two Ancient Tsunamis Reshaped Mars Points to Potential for Life

Billions of years ago, asteroid strikes caused mega-tsunamis made up of liquid water and frozen ice, scarring the red planet forever, according to new findings.


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