Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires occur each year, bringing physical destruction to land while simultaneously devastating people, animals, and plants. Natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, and cyclones similarly result in widespread devastation, often changing entire landscapes and coastlines.
Survivors of better-known natural disasters like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake have written down what it was like to live through those events. The same is true for individuals who watched as lesser-known floods and storms unleashed nature's fury all around them. Some of the accounts from history's biggest natural disasters remind us of the pure power of the planet, while others are a testament to human strength and endurance. Many accounts attest to the pain and anxiety associated with uncontrollable hardships brought on by natural disasters, too.
Through it all, firsthand accounts offer insight into the ongoing - and unrelenting - struggle between humans and nature.