<![CDATA[Ranker: Recent natural disasters Lists]]> http://www.ranker.com/tags/natural-disasters http://www.ranker.com/img/skin2/logo.gif Most Viewed Lists on Ranker http://www.ranker.com/tags/natural-disasters <![CDATA[The Worst California Wildfires in History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/worst-california-wildfires/mike-rothschild
California wildfires have been among the most destructive in American history, and with the state in the teeth of a prolonged drought, they're only getting more numerous and more dangerous. Every fire season, from late summer until fall, seems to bring more blazes, more acres destroyed, and more money spent battling them. Things are getting so bad that the very idea of "fire season" is becoming an anachronism.

But wildfires aren't a new phenomenon, with massive blazes going back to the founding of the state, including maybe the worst ever in terms of acres burned, the Santiago Canyon Fire, taking place in 1889. Since then, advances in firefighting technology and tactics have made fires easier to contain, but often at terrible costs in lives, such as during several fires in the '50s and '60s. The deadliest fires often happen because of a combination of large fires, scorching hot weather, changes in wind direction, and the terrain the fire is spreading into.

Even with the hot, dry weather, and numerous warnings to not start fires in vulnerable areas, fires break out. Sometimes it's an act of nature, such as a lightning strike causing forest fires - but other times it's arson or carelessness. These incidents are harshly prosecuted, with the arsonist behind one of the most deadly fires in California history receiving the death penalty.

Here are the worst fires in California history, ranked first by number of lives lost, then by acres.

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1991 Oakland firestorm
Date: October 1991
Cause: Brushfire
Acreage burned: 1,520
Deaths: 25
The costliest fire in California history began as a simple brush fire in the backyard of a home in a suburban Oakland community. Embers from the extinguished fire hit dried out ground and sparked a fire that raced through the Berkeley Hills, with embers being blown by strong winds around the area, starting more small fires that eventually merged. The dry air, closely packed wooden houses on steep hills, and high canyon walls whipped up strong winds and temperatures that eventually hit an astounding 2,000 degrees. The fire was so powerful that ash blew all the way across the bay into Candlestick Park, where an NFL game was being played.

When the wind finally shifted, firefighters were able to put the blazes out. But 25 people were killed, 150 were injured, 2,500 houses were destroyed, and over $1.5 billion in damage was done.

Rattlesnake Fire
Date: July 1953
Cause: Arson
Acreage burned: 1,340
Deaths: 15
Arsonist Stan Pattan started several small fires in Mendocino National Forest, and while one was quickly contained, the other spread quickly. While that fire was eventually contained, a small spot fire started near the firefighters' campground, which quickly burned while the men were taking a dinner break. The firefighters made a run for it, but most were killed by the fast moving blaze.

The fire changed how forest fires were handled, and led to a number of improvements in tactics. Pattan was eventually caught and sent to prison for several years.

Laguna Fire
Date: September 1970
Cause: Downed power lines
Acreage burned: 175,000
Deaths: 8
In September and October of 1970, California was hit by a vicious spate of wildfires, the worst of which was the Laguna Fire. High winds knocked down power lines in eastern San Diego County, and within a day, the fire had advanced 30 miles west, destroying multiple communities in its path. Firefighting efforts were hampered by the continued high winds, grounding all aircraft but one, flown by a Canadian pilot gone rogue. Over three weeks, the fire destroyed nearly 400 homes and killed eight people. Afterward, the devastation prompted Congress to establish a system allowing military aircraft to fight civilian fires – which is still in place today.

Old Fire
Date: October 2003
Cause: Arson
Acreage burned: 91,000
Deaths: 6
Another of the massive spate of fall 2003 fires, which included the Cedar Fire, the Old Fire was smaller, but extremely deadly. It began when arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler threw a lit flare out of a moving car into a pile of dry growth. The fire sparked quickly, then merged with a number of other fires, forming a massive blaze. Five people died in the blaze, with another suffering a fatal heart attack during the evacuation. Dozens of homes burned and a number of large communities were threatened by the blaze before it was contained by firefighters helped by a large snow storm.

Fowler was arrested in 2009 and charged with arson and six counts of murder. After a recanted confession and a trial, Fowler was found guilty and sentenced to death. Tragically, the ground stripped of vegetation was hit with a massive storm, causing a mudslide that killed 14 people.

Inaja Fire
Date: November 1956
Cause: Arson
Acreage burned: 44,000
Deaths: 11
A boy from a local Indian tribe made the unfathomable decision to throw a match into dry grass to see if it would burn. It did, and the fire quickly spread due to hot wind and drought conditions. It burned 25,000 acres within a day, and resisted all efforts to put it out. The next day, as a group of “fellers” were cutting trees to make a firebreak, the fire jumped up and hit a patch of gas tanks. The explosion and fireball killed 11 men – and led to a complete overhaul of firefighting techniques, including the creation of the “10 Standard Orders” of forest fire fighting.

Witch Creek Fire
Date: October 2007
Cause: Downed power lines
Acreage burned: 197,000
Deaths: 2
California’s October 2007 wildfire season was one of the worst on record at that point, and the worst of these fires was the Witch Creek Fire (sometimes just called the Witch Fire), in remote Western San Diego County. It began when high Santa Ana winds knocked down a power line, igniting brush that was dried out from drought conditions.

The fire jumped over Interstate 15 and quickly headed west, where it merged with another fire, threatening the entire San Diego region. 500,000 residents had to be evacuated, and numerous major roads were closed. By the time it was contained, nearly 1,600 homes and buildings were destroyed, and two people were killed. A fire near the Witch Fire, the Harris Fire, burned less area, but killed 8 people, including four firefighters.

Loop Fire
Date: August 1966
Cause: Downed power line 
Acreage burned: 2,200
Deaths: 12
A small fire in terms of acreage, the Loop Fire was one of the deadliest to California firefighters, with 12 men killed battling the blaze. It started when a power line sparked dry grass near Pacoima Dam, and burned so hot that huge clouds of smoke drifted into the San Fernando Valley. When a crew of firefighters entered a narrow canyon to contain it, the wind shifted and brought the fire right on top of them.

The lessons learned from the Loop Fire included better use of communications gear and a greater understanding of how canyons can trap and push superheated gas.

Cedar Fire
Date: October - December 2003
Cause: Signal fire in dry wood
Acreage burned: 273,246
Deaths: 15
The Cedar Fire is considered to be the largest and most destructive in California history. It broke out in Cleveland National Forest in central San Diego County, on October 25, when novice hunter Sergio Martinez became lost, and rather than shout for help (which would have scared away animals) he started a signal fire.

The blaze quickly grew out of control, and within a few hours had burned 5,000 acres. Errors in the initial response, compounded by the dryness of the surrounding area, led the fire to explode to 62,000 acres with 10 hours of it breaking out. It moved so quickly that residents in nearby Wildcat Canyon had no time to escape, and 12 people were killed almost instantly – with three firefighters killed a few days later. Within a day it had expanded 30 miles and 100,000 acres, and was threatening San Diego two days later. Airports in both San Diego and Los Angeles were badly disrupted by the smoke, and air travel across the country was snarled.

The Cedar Fire was finally contained on November 5, but continued to burn in some areas for another month. To the outrage of local residents, Sergio Martinez was given only supervised work and a relatively small fine.

Iron Alps Complex Fire
Date: August 2008
Cause: Lightning
Acreage burned: 108,000
Deaths: 10
A lightning strike set the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Northern California ablaze. Since the location was fairly remote, firefighters had to be flown in via helicopter. Sadly, one of these flights crashed, killing 10 men on board and badly injuring several others. The fires in the Iron Alps complex burned for several days before being contained by firefighting crews and weather changes.

Griffith Park Fire
Date: October 1933
Cause: Unknown
Acreage burned: 47
Deaths: 29
A small fire by the standards of the huge wildfires that currently plague California, the 1933 Griffith Park fire was nonetheless the deadliest in California history. Thousands of workers were toiling to build LA’s Griffith Park, mostly clearing brush and debris. A small fire started in a pile of debris and quickly raced through hastily built firebreaks.

There were no firefighters in the area and no pumped water, so the untrained workers tried to beat the fire out with shovels and heavy cloths. This only made the blaze worse, and a botched backfire attempt pushed the fire into a canyon, where it overwhelmed a group of workers. Fire fighters finally arrived, but were hampered by the horde of untrained workers everywhere – and when it was all over, 29 people were dead, and 150 injured.

At the time, the media blamed a Communist arsonist, but the true cause of the disaster was almost certainly the incompetently set backfires meant to contain the initial fire.

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<![CDATA[15 Times the World Was Almost Completely Destroyed]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/times-the-world-almost-got-destroyed/mel-judson
These 15 times the world almost ended will shock you to the core, though they thankfully, but narrowly, missed the Earth's core. Armageddon was almost a real-life event both in the olden days of yore and in the 21st century. These near apocalypses, whether due to mechanical failures, miscommunications, natural disasters, and barely avoided cosmic and nuclear events, almost ruined everyone's day at some point in the history of the Earth.

Remember how the Mayan calendar supposedly indicated that the apocalypse was headed for us in 2012? Well, they weren't that far off. As it turns out, a solar superstorm in the summer of 2012 narrowly missed blasting planet Earth. That would've sucked. And that's just one of the many times humanity and all of Earth's creatures have escaped extinction at the last second.

In fact, our planet is no stranger to "the end is near" concerns or real apocalypses, and it wasn't just Y2K. The Black Plague possibly killed as many as 200 million human beings, and you don't even want to hear the numbers when it comes to the Spanish Flu pandemic (that bad boy hit in the early 1900s). From comets, to volcanoes, to accidentally announcing nuclear war and setting off rockets, these are the times that the End of Days was almost just around the corner.


Cuban Missile Crises
The closest we ever came to completely annihilating human existence came during a combination of missteps in 1962. On October 25, an American air base guard activated the wrong alarm, which signaled WWIII from Wisconsin. The next day, America accidentally launched two missile tests in Russia because they had been scheduled before the Crisis began.
Simulation Confused With Reality
The movie War Games is a lot like what actually happened in 1979. The Pentagon thought 1,000 Soviet nukes were headed towards America when an Air Force officer checked out a simulation of exactly that. His computer happened to be hooked up to the mainframe in government control rooms, and the U.S. got ready to launch.
The Black Plague
One of the worst pandemics in the history of civilization, up to 200 million people were killed by the plague. The blame can likely be placed at the feet of Asian rat fleas and black rats that traveled with merchants. Not only was Europe's total population nearly cut in half, but the world population as a whole diminished substantially in the 14th century.
Spanish Flu
The 1918 influenza pandemic infected 500 million people and killed 3-5% of the entire globe's population. One of history's deadliest natural disasters killed 10-40% of those it infected and may have taken the lives of 25 million individuals over just 25 weeks. It topped the charts, killing more humans in one year than the Black Death in 100 years and killed more in 24 weeks than AIDS did in 24 years.
Yeltsin Almost Nukes America
The year was 1995 and the Cold War was over. But when Russia saw what looked exactly like a U.S. ballistic missile on its way, President Boris Yeltsin opened a briefcase with the nuclear codes for the first time. With ten minutes to figure out whether or not to nuke America, Yeltsin ultimately (and fortunately) got word that it was a science experiment he hadn't been warned about.
1950 Broken Arrow
"Broken Arrow" is a code name for a nuclear incident, which is exactly what happened in August of 1950. During the Korean War, a B-29 headed for Guam crashed at a California Air Base. The result? 5,000 pounds of explosives were detonated, 19 people died, and if the bomb had been armed with its fissile capsule, which thankfully it wasn't, potentially 100,000 people could have been killed
1961 Faded Giant
Idaho Falls almost blew itself up when an SL-1 reactor went off and caused a nuclear disaster. Emergency officials could not go into the control room because of absurdly high radiation levels. When they did, they found three victims, one of whom was pinned to the ceiling and impaled by a control rod due to the explosion.
NORAD Says Armageddon Is Nigh
In the winter of 1971, a teletype operator stuffed the wrong tape into an alert system machine. So, instead of saying "this is only a test," it said that the president of the United States was about to broadcast an emergency alert. 45 terrifying minutes later, NORAD realized their error, but one radio DJ said they were considering billing the agency "for three sets of underwear."
2012 Solar Storm
In the summer of 2012, a massive cloud of hot plasma erupted from the sun and went through our planet's orbit. Had it happened a single week earlier, Earth would have had GPS errors, radio blackouts, and fried satellites. In fact, resulting power blackouts would have been so bad that most of us would have had trouble flushing the toilet.
Comet Hyakutake
The Great Comet of 1996 was great in size but the opposite of great in potential effect. It was the closest approach to Earth of any comet in the previous 200 years. Amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake saw it approaching us, leading astronomers to notice X-rays being emitted from a comet for the first time ever.

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<![CDATA[The Best Tsunami Movies]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/best-tsunami-movie/lanayoshii
Tsunamis create vast destruction to so many communities. And they can provide great themes for disaster movies. Which tsunami-themed films are the coolest to watch?

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Deep Impact

The Perfect Storm

The Poseidon Adventure

Tidal Wave


The Impossible

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

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<![CDATA[The Best Tornado Movies]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/best-tornado-movie/lanayoshii
Tornadoes can be terrifying. In movies, they can be even worse. Which tornado-themed films are the most enjoyable to watch?

Category 6: Day of Destruction

Category 7: The End of the World

The Day After Tomorrow

The Perfect Storm

The Wizard of Oz


Flying Swords of Dragon Gate

All Is Lost

Into the Storm

Sharknado 2: The Second One

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<![CDATA[Stuff You'd Save if Your House Was Burning Down]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/stuff-youd-save-if-your-house-was-burning-down/ariel-kana
The miracle of fire captivated early humans and gave them the power to cook food. But all too often, the fiery flames turn on us, destroying homes and buildings. If a fire hit your house, what would you save before making your grand escape? When flames start burning down the house, what will you reach for?

This list of stuff you'd save if your house was burning down will help you prioritize your favorite and most valuable possessions. Are selfies more important than self-help books? Do you need your beauty products more than your pills? Who do you love more: your kitten or your lover? (Until you're in the heat of the moment – pardon the pun – do you really know?)  Which fabulous outfit do you want the hot firemen to see you in? These are the big, life-changing questions you'll face amid the flames.

So what would you save if your house was burning to ashes? Vote up the stuff you'd be most likely to grab while fleeing from a house fire. With any luck, you'll live a life free of house fires, but it's much better to be prepared. 

My Personal Toys (Don't Judge)
"You saved a toy box? But you don't have any kids," the neighbors might say when you exit your burning home, "toy" box in hand. Ignore them. Save whatever "toys" you might have, and make your post-inferno life one of pleasure.
My Furry Little Loved One
Spot and Fluffy have such short legs – how will they ever escape on their own?! They're your special little buddies and must be saved. If they're gone, your world just won't be the same. And, without them around, you'd have to find something else to post pictures of on Instagram.
My Pill Collection
Some are legit prescriptions, others might not be exactly genuine, but all are essential to your mental stability. If you've ever needed some little yellow pills it's now, so keep them close and the green, blue, red, white, orange, and purple ones even closer.
My Collection of Selfies
You didn't snap these hot pics for them to NOT be seen. Don't deprive the world of your best duck faces – get back in that burning house and salvage what you can from your selfie shelf. We know you've got one.

My Favorite Outfits (Of Course!)
You're definitely the Carrie of your friends - the fashionista with a wardrobe that rivals that of the entire "Sex and the City" cast. Don't leave your favorite looks to smolder in the ashes of your once-majestic closet. Save at least a few outfits so you have something fabulous to wear to meetings with the insurance agent. And if your fire is big enough, there may be media outside...always have a hot outfit to go at the ready!

My Video Collection
Whether your collection resides on hard drives or you've still got the old school VHS tapes laying around, you've definitely got all sorts of very important recordings in your video collection. Some are sentimental recordings of your kids' birthday parties, some are (ahem) less kid-friendly. In any case, they must be saved, after all VHS tapes simply can't be replaced, and, at last check, burnt up hard drives are pretty useless.

My Wine Bottle Opener (Holla!)
Look, just because your house burned down doesn't mean you won't want (need?) a nice bottle of wine to get through the trauma. Be sure you grab the corkscrew on your way through the flames, otherwise, what will you drink? Hello... priorities!

All the Products I Need to Look Like This
What's hotter than fire? You are. But it's a process. There are necessary tools and top-secret beauty tricks that only you have. And that lipstick was just discontinued! Make sure you grab your beauty kit so you can emerge from the flames, hotter than ever.
The Gifts My Sweetie Gave Me
What's more important than true love? The gifts you demand from your significant other as proof that they do, in fact, love you. Because how do you show love if not through lavish gifts? Before the house becomes ashes, make sure you save all the jewelry, heart shaped candy boxes, love letters, special mementos and giant teddy bears that serve as proof of your loving relationship.
My Fabulous Undies (You Go Girl!)
Girl's gotta look her best, even in the wake of a natural disaster, right? Right. Save the undies. You never know what kinds of hot firemen you might meet. Or perhaps there will be a hot Good Samaritan out there who stopped to help, a hot news reporter covering the event.... you just never know!

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<![CDATA[The Worst Sinkhole Disasters of All Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/worst-sinkhole-disasters-of-all-time/coy-jandreau
A sinkhole, also known as a swallow hole, shake hole, swallet, or doline, is a depression or hole caused by a collapse of the surface layer of the earth. Sinkholes can range from just one meter (swallowing up a single person walking by on the street) up to hundreds of kilometers, taking out entire cities. They can happen naturally by wind or water erosion, or artificially due to people mining and drilling in unsafe areas.

Whichever the case and whatever the cause, people notice. It's a literal force of nature and it can be terrifying. Though some are later turned into a nice vacation spot. They happen all over the world, on both continents and islands. Below are the worst sinkhole disasters of all time, ranked by users. Vote up the disaster you think was the worst, and keep an eye on the earth beneath you.

Guatemala City Sinkhole
The people of a Guatemala City had been hearing strange sounds for weeks when suddenly, in late February 2007, an almost perfect circle sinkhole opened up 300 feet of earth beneath them! That's nearly the size of the Statue of Liberty but... DOWN. Unfortunately three people were killed and over one thousand had to be evacuated.
Brazilian Port Sinkhole
Not much is known about this incident in Brazil other than an ENTIRE PORT was swept away in a matter of minutes, causing untold dollars in damages and a permanent end to that Port.
San Diego Split
This monstrous divide opened up in March of 1998 severing several major throughways and effectively crippling traffic (and business) to many local towns. The first man to come across it inadvertently drove his Honda right into the sinkhole, luckily with no permanent injuries (except the loss of car). Another couple drove into it but were able to leap out at the last minute.
San Francisco Sinkhole
In 1996 this sinkhole opened up under a heavily populated area in San Francisco, it was caused by a heavy rainstorm that destroyed a 100 year old sewer system under the city. Fortunately there were no fatalities, but this did occur in a nice part of town completely destroying a mansion and damaging several nearby homes.
Brazil City Block Sink Hole
In January of 2014, a sinkhole took out an area, and all of the stores and homes in it, almost the size of an entire city block in a small town North of Rio, Brazil.
Devil's Sinkhole
Located in Rocksprings, Texas, this 40 by 60 foot sinkhole is about 400 feet deep and is the home to thousands of Mexican Free Tailed bats. Though it was initially destructive to the town, costing thousands in damages, they have made it into quite the tourist destination due the sheer quantity of bats, and the size of the sinkhole. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to for the bats to completely empty the sinkhole when they fly out for the night.
The Florida Sinkhole That Consumed a Man.
This sinkhole unfortunately was not only the cause of thousands in damages but also claimed the life of Jeff Bush a young father who was sleeping in his bed when the ground suddenly gave way and swallowed him whole. The hole was about 20-30 feet in diameter and believed to be about 100 feet deep. The house has since been demolished as well as the two adjacent to it (for safety concerns), and Bush's body was never recovered.
An entire trading and fortress city in the Arabian peninsula was swallowed up 5,000 years ago when it's underground water system (ironically the very thing that made it such a thriving city) gave way and swallowed up the entire city. It's been compared in scope to Los Angeles just falling into the earth. The Lost City of Ubar is known as the "Atlantis of the Sands."
Berezniki Sinkhole
This sinkhole in the Russian city of Berezniki is ENORMOUS and approaching its 30th birthday. It started in 1986 and has been growing every year. As of 2012, it was 340 yards wide, 430 yards long, and 780 feet deep. It's slowly consuming the entire city.

Hurricane Agatha Guatemala City Sinkhole
Disaster struck Guatemala City again when, less than 2 kilometers from one the sinkhole that opened up in 2007, another sinkhole swallowed an entire three story building. The ground collapsed more than 300 feet and 15 people were killed. 

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<![CDATA[The Worst Volcanic Eruptions in History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/the-worst-volcanic-eruptions-in-history/drake-bird
From the most recent, current volcanic eruptions to those of the past, this list names the largest volcanic eruptions in history. With volcanic death tolls reaching tragic proportions, these are not only the biggest and worst volcanic eruptions environmentally, they're also the deadliest. World disasters like volcano eruptions can affect the world on a global scale and test the preparedness and relief our governments can provide. Luckily for the human race, none of these have been supervolcanoes.

Volcanoes are vents in the Earth's surface where molten rock, ash, and gases can erupt or ooze out. Most volcanoes are located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates can slide beneath one another and cause a disturbance. The size of the volcano eruption depends on how much time a volcano has had to build up pressure -- some of the biggest volcano disasters came after a long period of dormancy.
What are the worst volcanic eruptions ever? Such great disasters, despite the destruction and natural hazards that come along with them, can also bring forth examples of how big our hearts are as we as individuals provide aid alongside our countries. These historic volcanic eruptions caused great disaster, and were certainly some of the biggest ever recorded on earth.

Mount Tambora
The biggest volcanic eruption in human history occurred in 1815 on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, leaving 100,000 dead. There was between six months and three years of steaming and small eruptions after the initial one. Because of the 400 million ton cloud of gas the volcano created, the earth began to cool and 1816 became known as "The Year Without Summer" because of the low temperatures, which killed crops and led to mass starvation.
Mount Unzen
Mount Unzen is located in a cluster of volcanoes in Japan's Shimabara Peninsula. Mount Unzen's 1792 eruption triggered an avalanche from Mount Mayuyama. The landslide created a tsunami that killed 15,000 people.
Mount Kelud
This particularly active Indonesian volcano is especially deadly because its crater lake has caused lahars, which killed 10,000 in a 1586 explosion and 5,000 in 1919. Dams and drainage tunnels have been built since then to protect nearby villages from f*ture volcanic eruptions.
In 1783 Laki, a volcano in Iceland, exploded. The 120 million tons of gas that Laki emitted during the eight-month eruption killed 20% of Iceland's population (approx. 9,350 people), due to famine. The volcanic eruption had one of the greatest global impacts in history as the sulfur out pour caused crop failures in Europe, droughts in India and famine in Japan and Egypt. Environmental historians have even conjectured that Laki's eruption could have helped spark the French Revolution, as famine was one of the key issues the people raised against the French monarchy.
Santa Maria
Before its eruption in 1902, the Santa Maria Volcano, located in Guatemala, had been dormant for 500 years. Local people around the volcano were unable to detect the volcano's activity for this reason. 6,000 were killed by the eruption itself, which released 5.5 cubic kilometers of magma. An outbreak of malaria that followed the eruption killed many more. The city of Quezaltenango is located directly under the volcano and a new lava dome complex called Santiaguito has been forming in the crater which the eruption left.
The volcanic island, which is between the Indonesian islands Java and Sumatra, erupted in 1883 with a force 13,000 times that of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Over 36,000 people died. The explosion holds the record for the loudest sound ever heard. The sound was hard over 3,000 miles away from its origin point. The eruption produced a 130 foot high tsunami, which destroyed villages and killed 90 percent of the total people who died in the disaster.
Mount Vesuvius
The famous Italian volcano, the only active one on the European continent, erupted in 79 AD, killing at least 16,000 people with suffocating ash and instantly decimating Pompei and Herculeneam. Excavations beginning in the 19th century have been uncovering the skeletal remains of the volcano's victims. The volcano has erupted 30 times since then and scientists predict that the next eruption will be terrible, endangering the lives of at least 600,000 Italians living within its red zone.
Mount Pelée
Mount Pelee is a volcano on Martinique, the Caribbean island which was colonized by the French. On May 2, 1902 the rivers in St. Pierre were filled with boulders and trees from the mountain and the air was contaminated with sulfur. The eruption produced a tsunami that flooded the city. One side of the volcano collapsed, releasing boiling water and mud into the sugar farms and burying people alive. The eruption is known as the deadliest in the 20th century, killing at least 29,000 people.
Nevado del Ruiz
Recorded as the second deadliest volcanic eruption in the 20th century, the Nevado del Ruiz eruption, known as the Armero tragedy of 1985, killed at least 23,000. The Nevado del Ruiz is the northernmost volcano in the Andean Volcanic Belt, located in Tolima, Colombia. The eruption produced several lahars and one reached Armero, a little town located 70,000 kilometers from the summit of the volcano. The eruption was Colombia's worst natural disaster and is estimated to have cost $1 billion.

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<![CDATA[11 Amazing & Rare Natural Phenomenons]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/10-amazing-and-rare-natural-phenomenons/analise.dubner
This natural phenomena list chronicles some of the most stunning, and rare, occurrences in nature (with photos). The natural world is packed to the brim with amazing life forms and spectacular accomplishments, but there are some things that just stand out. Mostly because they are so rare and unusual.

What are some natural phenomenons that occur in nature? Some of the examples on this list have yet to be fully understood, and others have been well documented throughout history... but one thing is for certain, if you witness even one of these amazing and rare occurrences in your lifetime, consider yourself lucky.

Rogue Wave
Rogue waves (also known as freak waves, monster waves, killer waves, extreme waves, and abnormal waves) are large and dangerous surface waves that occur far out to sea. These are not tsunamis, but instead seem to form from a variety of possible causes.

There are three types of rogue waves, the "Wall of Water", the "Three Sisters" and single, giant storm waves that can collapse within moments of their formation. These waves seem to occur in deep water or where a number of physical factors converge and can cause a number of waves to join together.
Ice Circles
That ice circles and discs form is no mystery, but how they form is still a little up in the air. Ice circles are thin, circular slabs of ice that rotate slowly in the water. It is believed that they form in eddy currents, but some new theories involving rising methane have been brought forward in Russia.
Aurora Borealis
Superintendant Chalmers: Good Lord, what is happening in there?
principal Skinner: The Aurora Borealis?
Superintendant Chalmers: The Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your kitchen?
principal Skinner: Yes.
Superintendant Chalmers: May I see it?
principal Skinner: No.

An aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the thermosphere. These charged particles come from the magnetosphere as well as solar winds and are directed by the Earth's magnetic field into the atmosphere.

The altitude and the density of the atmosphere determine the colors you see, when the energetic electrons are strong enough to split the air molecules into nitrogen and oxygen. Oxygen atoms tend to display in two typical colors: green and red. The red is a brownish red that is at the limit of what the human eye can see, and although the red auroral emission is often very bright, we can barely see it.

To see aurora you need clear and dark sky. During very large auroral events, the aurora may be seen throughout the US and Europe, but these events are rare. I saw the Aurora in the middle of Utah once... looked like the sky was on fire in the middle of the night.
Sailing Stones
The method by which these stones travel is still an unsolved mystery. At a place called The Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, there's a dry lake bed that is surprisingly flat, with only a 4cm height differential between the north and south ends. The high mountains surrounding the Racetrack are made mostly of dark dolomite and tower over the lake bed. When the heavy desert rains come, water pours down these mountains and onto the lake bed, forming a very shallow lake. Due to the hot temperatures of the region (because, you know, Death Valley), the water evaporates, leaving behind a layer of soft, very slick mud. There is a theory that high winds move the rocks at this time, the thin layer of mud acting as a lubricated surface. However, the fact that some stones move and others do not, or that some will simply change direction... makes the wind theory slightly suspect.

These rocks seem to only move every 2 or 3 years, and some tracks develop over 4 years. There have been research teams on the Playa since the 70s, but no one has yet to witness the stones actually moving.

Update: In 2014, a team of scientists and engineers were finally able to capture on video how it happens
Fire Rainbow
Also called a circumhorizontal arc, a fire rainbow is an optical phenomenon formed by ice crystals in high altitude cirrus clouds. If you are very lucky and live at the right latititude, you might see one, possibly two in your entire lifetime. Cirrus clouds are those spread-out, wispy looking clouds that you see way up past the regular, fluffy ones. They are so wispy because there is very little moisture in the air at that altitude.

Despite the fact that cirrus clouds are common, fire rainbows are not. This is for the same reason that you only see a regular rainbow under certain circumstances. The light from the sun has to hit these particular ice crystals at exactly the right angle or the light will not separate (refract) into its colorful components - at least 58 degrees above the horizon. Because of the absolutely specific height of the sun you will not see a fire rainbow south or north of 55 degrees.
Raining Animals
Raining animals is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which animals fall from the sky. There are a few theories about how this happens, one suggests that strong winds traveling over water sometimes pick up creatures such as fish or frogs, and carry them for up to several miles. However, while people have witnessed the animals actually falling, this initial stage of where and how the animals get grabbed up in the first place has never been witnessed or scientifically tested.

In some reported cases, the animals fall to the ground intact and alive, and in some they are found frozen or shredded.
Water Spout
A water spout is technically a non-supercell tornado over water... and while it's usually weaker than its land-brother the tornado, stronger ones are possible.

Usually found in the tropics, they've been known to form over lakes as well. There are generally three types: non-tornadic, tornadic and snowspout. The first, non-tornadic (or fair weather waterspouts) are the most common and tend to live only about 20 minutes. A tornadic spout is much stronger, and basically an actual tornado over water. These, like tornados, are connected with severe thunderstorms. Finally, the snowspout (also known as a snow devil) is the rarest of the three types. Only six known pictures exist (four from Ontario, CA), and they require extremely cold temps over a body of warm water with a difference of a specific 34 degrees to form at all.
Ball Lightning
Ball lightning is an unexplained atmospheric electrical phenomenon that refers to a luminous, usually spherical object (and it's not a piece o' the car) which can vary from pea-sized to several meters in diameter. It is usually associated with thunderstorms, but lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a lightning bolt.

Laboratory experiments have produced effects that are visually similar to reports of ball lightning, but it is presently unknown whether these are actually related to any naturally occurring phenomenon. Scientific data on natural ball lightning are scarce owing to its infrequency and unpredictability. The presumption of its existence is based on reported public sightings, and has therefore produced somewhat inconsistent findings. Because there is a real lack of data on the phenomenon, the true nature of ball lightning is still unknown.
Penitentes are a snow formation found only at high altitudes. They take the form of tall thin blades of hardened snow or ice closely spaced and pointing in the general direction of the sun. Penitentes can be as tall as a person.

The key climatic condition that leads to the formation of penitentes is that dew point is always below freezing. Thus, snow will sublimate, because sublimation requires a higher energy input than melting. The surface geometry of the growing penitente produces a positive feedback mechanism, and radiation is trapped by multiple reflections between the walls of the points. The hollows become almost a black body for radiation, while decreased wind leads to air saturation, increasing dew point temperature and the onset of melting. In this way peaks and walls remain, which intercept only a minimum of solar radiation and in the spaces between, ablation is enhanced, leading to a downward growth of penitentes. A mathematical model of the process has been developed, but the initial stage of penitente growth, from granular snow to the birth of a new penitente, still remains unclear.
Algal Bloom
Algal blooms are a natural phenomenon, the occurrence of which may be increased by nutrient pollution. Algae can multiply quickly in waterways with an overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorus, particularly when the water is warm and the weather is calm. This proliferation causes "blooms" of algae that turn the water green, orange or red. 

 The ones that most folks take note of, of course, are the ones that turn the ocean to blood. Or, you know, "red tide", even though it has nothing to do with the tide. This is known as one of the 'harmful blooms', although not only the red and brown algea are harmful. These HABs can produce neurotoxins (which affect the nervous system) and hepatotoxins (which affect the liver). These toxins can potentially impact the health of people who come into contact with water where HABs are present in high numbers.Even though these blooms have been around since before biblical times, there has been increased public awareness of the negative impacts of these blooms to marine resources -- such as strandings and deaths of marine mammals, birds, and sea turtles. In addition, scientists have determined that there are more toxic algal species, algal toxins, affected fisheries resources, food-web disruption, and economic losses from harmful algal blooms than ever before.

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<![CDATA[13 Helpful Hurricane Preparedness Tips]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/13-helpful-hurricane-preparedness-tips/mary-sterling
If you're in an area that may be impacted by a hurricane, listen up: There are things you can do now to prepare. Most of the hurricane preparedness tips on this list can be done well in advance of an approaching storm. Don't wait. Do these things now, and if you do wind up taking a hit from mother nature, you'll be grateful you took action beforehand.

With Hurricane Irene making a bee line for the Atlantic Coast, millions of people could be impacted. If the storm moves up the coast to New England, millions more may find themselves unprepared for the wrath. While you can't do much about the storm itself, you can take steps now to keep yourself and your family protected.

Hurricanes pose several threats: high winds can cause devastating damage, but heavy rains and storm surges can be equally as destructive. Widespread power outages are quite common in the wake of a hurricane, so you'll need to prepare for this. In addition, if you are asked to evacuate, you'll want to have everything ready - so you can leave at a moment's notice.

Have a Flashlight and Batteries on Hand
Most of us do have at least one or two flashlights lying around the house. Time to dig through the kitchen drawers now. Make sure you have a working flashlight, in the event you lose power. Also, please check to make SURE you have extra batteries. Stock up!

Another tip: Candles are always a good idea. Have an ample supply. Also, make sure you have lighters and matches on hand. And please, don't leave candles burning unattended. Just keep them lit in the areas where you and your family are - not in additional, unoccupied rooms.
Make a Go Bag
What the heck is a "go bag," you ask? A "go bag," or a "grab and go bag" is basically a kit that you can put together well in advance of any storm, especially a hurricane. You'll need it if you are asked to evacuate an area in the path of a potentially dangerous storm. Your go bag should have some essential items, including:

Plenty of water (approximately one gallon for each person in your household, per day, for at least 3 days)

Non-perishable food (canned goods and a can opener, crackers, bread, chips, fruit - anything that won't spoil)

Medication (be sure to refill any prescription medications you need before the storm hits, and include any over-the-counter meds you take regularly, along with a first aid kit, if possible)

Important documents and cash in small bags. You know that lock box you keep in the office closet? The one with insurance papers, mortgage papers, etc.? Get it out and have it ready to take with you if you need to evacuate.

An emergency radio, with extra batteries

A cell phone with a charger

Plastic baggies: You should put your important documents and cash, along with your phones, in plastic bags to protect them in case they get wet

Moist towelettes: If you don't have running water handy, these little towelettes can be heavenly, allowing you to clean up after munching out on your canned goods and/or freshening up if you can't take a shower.

**Another tip: Gather some blankets and pillows if you're heading for a shelter.
Grab Some Extra Cash
If a hurricane does impact your area, ATM machines may go down (they need power, like everything else). Even if your local grocery store is open immediately after the storm, they may not be able to accept debit and/or credit cards - just cash. Go ahead and visit the bank or the ATM now and withdraw some cash. No need to flip out and withdraw your savings, but have enough on hand (small bills are great) to make purchases.
Make a Family Emergency Plan
Every family should have some sort of emergency plan in place, be it for storms or any other disaster. If things get rough and a hurricane slams into your area, you may not be able to get good cell phone service. Make sure everyone in your household knows where to meet, if the worst happens. Designate an emergency contact person (preferably someone who lives out-of-town) and make sure everyone knows that person's number.

Make sure everyone in the family knows how to text message. If phone systems get overwhelmed (and they definitely do in the wake of any disaster), texting may be the only means of communicating with others.
Respect the Cone
Those familiar with hurricane watching know what "the cone" is, but for those who don't: It's the projected areas that NOAA forecasters think will be impacted in some way by a hurricane. Sometimes the cone is off a bit - these storms can change course rather quickly, and it's difficult to predict an exact hurricane path days in advance. Nevertheless, if you live in an area included in the cone, OR near one, respect it. Know that things can change, but be smart enough to take precautions ahead of time.
If Asked to Evacuate, GO
If your state and/or local government officials ask you to voluntarily evacuate your area ahead of a storm, strongly consider doing it. Grab your "go bag" and go. If you are in a mandatory evacuation zone, you must leave. You may think it would be cool to "ride out" a hurricane by sheltering in place, but believe me, about an hour into the storm's onslaught, you'll regret your decision to stay. Just get to a safe place, hunker down, and ride the storm out in safety.
Charge Your Cell Phones
If you lose power, you won't be able to charge your cell phone when the juice runs out. Be sure that all portable devices, especially cell phones, are fully charged well ahead of the storm. FEMA also recommends that people try to limit cell phone use in storm-ravaged areas - at least initially - so your cell phone/smart phone can be extremely important, allowing you to text and use social media to communicate with others.

**Another tip: If you live in a particularly storm-prone area, consider investing in a portable cell phone charger for your car.
Get Fuel: Gas and Propane
Yes, gas up the vehicles. Don't freak out and hoard (meaning don't bring 18 gas cans and fill them all up), but make sure that the vehicles you have are fully fueled up. Prolonged power outages can cause big problems at the pump and temporary gas shortages do happen.

If you've got a gas grill, grab a tank or two of extra propane. If the power goes out, you'll be able to cook (and use up the stuff in the freezer that may go bad quickly).
Keep a Portable Radio Around
Most of us are wired in to the Internet and 24-hour television channels to get information, but remember: If the power goes out, these things go bye-bye. Remember portable radios? No? Well, they're handy-dandy devices that let you listen to...the radio. Local radio. Meaning, they're a way to keep in touch with the outside world if Mother Nature decides to put the whammy on your town. Keep a portable radio around and, as with all "old school" devices, be sure you have enough batteries on hand to keep it going!
Have a Weather Radio
Those who live in storm-prone areas likely already have weather radios - but if you don't, get one. These devices are truly life-savers. You'll be able to keep track of all updated weather information in your specific area. Don't plan on relying on the TV - if you lose power, you'll be stuck in the dark, literally and figuratively.

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<![CDATA[The Worst Tsunamis in History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/the-worst-tsunamis-in-history/drake-bird
List of the worst tsunamis in history, with pictures where possible. From the most recent, current tsunamis to those of the past, this list has them all. What was the worst tsunami ever? With death tolls reaching tragic proportions, these are not only the worst tsunamis environmentally, they're also the deadliest.

World disasters such as these famous natural catastrophes can affect the world on a global scale and test the preparedness and relief our governments can provide. What was the worst tsunamis in history? Such great disasters, despite the destruction and natural hazards that come along with them, can also bring forth examples of how big our hearts are as we as individuals provide aid alongside our countries. This list gives us the most major examples. Fortunately, events such as these are not always so disastrous, and can provide us with the opportunity to make plans for when these epic events occur. One thing's for sure, they'll make you think twice about the ocean next time you head out to catch a big wave.

If you're in shock over the size of some of the largest tsunamis ever recorded, try checking out the worst earthquakes, biggest tornadoes, and most tragic volcanic eruptions in history. They'll really enlighten you on the power of mother nature.

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
On December 26, 2004, an earthquake released close to 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs mount of energy from beneath the Earth's surface. This unleashed a series of killer waves across the Indian Ocean that traveled as fast as a jet airliner. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake was the largest magnitude earthquake in 40 years and the tsunami it generated traveled as much as 3,000 miles to Africa. About 229,866 were found dead and one-third of the death toll were young children who were not strong enough to fight against the force of the waves.
1826 Japanese Earthquake
27000 Dead
1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami
On April 24, 1771, the Yaeyama Great Earthquake caused the formation of the 1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami. The tsunami hit both the Ishigaki and Miyakojima Island of Japan and killed a total of 12,000 people. Agriculture was severely damaged and the population decreased about one-third of what it was. The tsunami at Ishigaki reportedly reached a height of 262 feet.
1868 Arica Earthquake/Tsunami
The estimated 8.5 to 9.0 magnitude earthquake near Arica (then part of Peru, now part of Chile) in 1868 nearly destroyed all of Arica and its surrounding cities. The tsunami it produced almost completely destroyed the port city of Pisco. It also caused some damage in Hawaii, New Zealand and Japan. About 25,674 casualties were reported.
1896 Meiji-Sanriku Earthquake
The 1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake hit Japan on a day when the country was celebrating both the return of soldiers from the Sinto Japanese War and a Shinto holiday. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that took place was small but the tsunami that struck the coast of Sanriku 35 minutes later was much greater. Waves as high as 125 feet were measured and nearly 9,000 homes were destroyed. 22,070 were reported dead and an unusually high count of victims with fractured skulls and broken or missing limbs. Hawaii also suffered some destruction from the tsunami as waves of 30 feet were measured there.
1792 Mount Unzen
The 1792 eruption of Mount Unzen in western Kyushu, Japan is the most deadliest volcanic eruption ever in Japan. It caused a megatsunami that reached up to 330 feet and killed 15,030 people.
1908 Messina Earthquake/Tsunami
An earthquake of 7.1 hit Messina, a city in the island of Sicily, on December 28, 1908. The earthquake shook for 30 to 40 seconds and moments after, a tsunami of 40 feet high formed and struck the nearby coasts. At the time, the buildings there were not made earthquake resistent and 93% of the structures in Messina were destroyed. Entire families were buried under heavy roofing and debris and were still being discovered and pulled out days later. Other families, were not so lucky and the natural catastrophe numbered about 123,000 dead.
1755 Lisbon Earthquake/Tsunami/Fire
Geologists today estimate that the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, was close to a magnitude of 9 on the moment magnitude scale. With an epicenter in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 km of Cape St. Vincent in southern Portugal, the megathrust earthquake was one of the deadliest earthquakes in history. It was followed by fires and a tsunami that destroyed most of Lisbon in the Kingdom of Portugal. The tsunami occurred approximately 40 minutes after the earthquake and engulfed the harbour, downtown and other nearby cities. Tsunamis as tall as 66 feet also swept the coast of North Africa and struck islands across the Atlantic like Martinique and Barbados. A ten-foot tsunami also hit Cornwall on the southern English coast and Galway on the west coast of Ireland. A total of 100,000 were reported dead from the disaster.
1883 Eruption of Krakatoa
It's not only earthquakes that can caused monstrous tsunamis; volcanic eruptions do the same as well. On August 27, 1883, four huge eruptions from the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia took place, resulting in four different tsunamis over 100 feet tall. There were absolutely no survivors at the island of Sebesi, the nearest island to the volcano and bodies were found floating in the ocean for weeks after the event. The total death total was around 36,000.
1707 Hoei Earthquake
The 1707 Hoei earthquake is the only earthquake to have ruptured all segments of the Nankai megathrust simultaneously and is the second largest earthquake to have ever hit Japan besides the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. The estimated magnitude of the quake was 8.6. The consequent tsunami ran along the southwestern coast of Kochi and ran up to an average of 25 feet to 32 feet in some places. The total dead were estimated to be 30,000.

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