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TSUNAMI

The worst tsunami disaster in history occurred in December 2004 when a magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake, centered in the Indian Ocean off the northwestern coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, generated a tsunami that struck the coasts of 14 countries from Southeast Asia to northeastern Africa. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported a death toll of more than 250,000 people as a result of the tsunami and the earthquake, with nearly two-thirds of the deaths occurring in Indonesia. High death tolls were also reported in India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Geologists calculated that the ocean floor at the epicenter was thrust upward 9 m (30 ft) as a result of the quake. Previously the highest death toll from a tsunami was an estimated 60,000 people killed in 1755 when an earthquake generated a tsunami that struck coastal Portugal, Spain, and Morocco and destroyed the city of Lisbon, Portugal. The last major tsunami to occur in the Indian Ocean happened in 1883 with the eruption of Krakatau (also spelled Krakatau). The resulting tsunami reached an estimated height of 30 m (100 ft), traveled 13,000 km (8,000 mi), and drowned about 34,000 people along the coasts of Java and Sumatra. Another 2,000 people were fatally burned by hot volcanic ash. In North America the worst known tsunami occurred in 1964 when an earthquake off the coast of Anchorage, Alaska, created a tsunami that killed 115 people in Alaska, Oregon, and California. Scientists also believe that a magnitude 9.0 quake occurred along the Cascadian fault off the coast of Washington and Oregon in 1700 and generated a massive tsunami. Scientists believe the quake and tsunami converted vast spruce tree forests into saltwater tidal flats.

VOLCANO I INTRODUCTION Volcano, mountain or hill formed by the accumulation of materials erupted through one or more openings (called volcanic vents) in the earth's surface. The term volcano can also refer to the vents themselves. Most volcanoes have steep sides, but some can be gently sloping mountains or even flat tablelands, plateaus, or plains. The volcanoes above sea level are the best known, but the vast majority of the world's volcanoes lie beneath the sea, formed along the global oceanic ridge systems that crisscross the deep ocean floor (see Plate Tectonics). According to the Smithsonian Institution, 1,511 above-sea volcanoes have been active during the past 10,000 years, 539 of them erupting one or more times during written history. On average, 50 to 60 above-sea volcanoes worldwide are active in any given year; about half of these are continuations of eruptions from previous years, and the rest are new. Volcanic eruptions in populated regions are a significant threat to people, property, and agriculture. The danger is mostly from fastmoving, hot flows of explosively erupted materials, falling ash, and highly destructive lava flows and volcanic debris flows (see Volcano

Hazards below). In addition, explosive eruptions, even from volcanoes in unpopulated regions, can eject ash high into the atmosphere, creating drifting volcanic ash clouds that pose a serious hazard to airplanes.

EARTHQUAKE
Earthquake, shaking of the Earths surface caused by rapid movement of the Earths rocky outer layer. Earthquakes occur when energy stored within the Earth, usually in the form of strain in rocks, suddenly releases. This energy is transmitted to the surface of the Earth by earthquake waves. The study of earthquakes and the waves they create is called seismology (from the Greek seismic, to shake). Scientists who study earthquakes are called seismologists. Seismologists also study earthquakes to learn more about the structure of the Earths interior. Earthquakes provide a rare opportunity for scientists to observe how the Earths interior responds when an earthquake wave passes through it. Measuring depths and geologic structures within the Earth using earthquake waves is more difficult for scientists than is measuring distances on the Earths surface. However, seismologists have used earthquake waves to determine that there are four main regions that make up the interior of the Earth: the crust, the mantle, and the inner and outer core. The intense study of earthquake waves began during the last decades of the 19th century, when people began placing seismographs at observatories around the world. By 1897 scientists had gathered enough seismograms from distant earthquakes to identify that P and S waves had traveled through the deep Earth. Seismologists studying these seismograms later in the late 19th and early 20th centuries discovered P wave and S wave shadow zonesareas on the opposite side of the Earth from the earthquake focus that P waves and S waves do not reach. These shadow zones showed that the waves were bouncing off some large geologic interior structures of the planet.

A massive earthquake struck Gujarat on January 26, 2001. The earthquake registered 7.9 on the Richter scale, according to the United States Geological Survey. At least 17,000 people were killed in the quake, and more than 700,000 were left homeless. Numerous towns and villages were reduced to rubble, including Bhuj, a city with a population of about 200,000 that is located 20 km (12 mi) from the quakes epicenter in western Gujarat. A massive earthquake struck Gujarat on January 26, 2001. The earthquake registered 7.9 on the Richter scale, according to the United States Geological Survey. At least 17,000 people were killed in the quake, and more than 700,000 were left homeless. Numerous towns and villages were reduced to rubble, including Bhuj, a city with a population of about 200,000 that is located 20 km (12 mi) from the quakes epicenter in western Gujarat. Japan has a long and irregular coastline totaling some 29,751 km (18,486 mi). The coastlines of Hokkaid and western and northern Honshu are relatively straight. The most prominent features of Hokkaids coastline are the Oshawa Peninsula at the south end of the island and the Uchiura and Ishikari bays, which flank the peninsula on opposite coasts. The western coast of Honshu on the almost tide less Sea of Japan possesses Japans largest sandy beaches and its tallest dunes. The only conspicuous indentations in this coastline are Wabasha and Toyama bays and one major peninsula, the Moto Peninsula. The eastern coast of Honshu north of Tokyo has few navigable inlets.

Volcano Islands (Japan), (Japanese Kazan Recto), group of three islands, Japan, in the western Pacific Ocean, south of the Bonin Islands. The islands, which include Iwo Jima (Naka Iwo), were controlled by Japan from 1891 until 1945, when they were occupied by U.S. forces. They were placed under the provisional administration of the U.S. Navy in 1951. By the terms of the peace treaty with Japan, the U.S. exercised complete authority from 1952, maintaining an air base on Iwo Jima until June 26, 1968, when the islands were returned to Japan. The total area is 28 sq km (11 sq mi). Southernmost Island of the Lipari Islands (Insole Eloise), in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off northern Sicily, in Italy. Volcano Island, with an area of 21 sq km (8 sq mi) is the second largest of the 17 islands in the chain. Volcano Island contains several volcanoes, including Gran Craters, or Fossa Vecchio, which is still active. The highest volcano is Monte Aria with an elevation of 499 m (1,637 ft). The smallest is the Vulcanello with an elevation of 122 m (400 ft). According to classical mythology, the forges of Vulcan, the god of fire, were on one of these volcanoes. Population (1991) 460. See also Lipari Islands. The geologic history of volcanic activity on Earth tells us that large eruptions are less frequent than smaller ones. Volcanic eruptions are rated according to how much magma they produce. A colossal eruption would involve more than 1,000 cu km (240 cu mi) of magma, enough to cover the state of Kansasan area of 213,109 sq km (82,282 sq mi)in a layer of magma 4.7 m (15.4 ft) thick. An eruption of this size occurs on Earth approximately every 100,000 years, and the last one occurred about 74,000 years ago. By comparison, great eruptions produce about 100 cu km (24 cu mi) of magma, or enough to cover the area of Kansas in a layer of magma 0.47 m (1.54 ft) thick. An eruption of this size occurs about every 500 years. The explosion of Tambour in 1815 was the last one of this magnitude to be recorded.

Hurricanes
A hurricane is a migratory tropical cyclone that originates over oceans in certain regions near the equator. The modern era of hurricane forecasting began in the 1960s, when satellites allowed continuous monitoring of hurricanes from space. Today, people who live on coastlines and islands vulnerable to the impacts of hurricanes pay close attention to the forecasts of a hurricane's intensity and track, or path. Hurricane forecasts are an important element in decisions to secure property, warn and evacuate populations, and initiate relief operations in affected areas. In the United States, official hurricane forecasts are issued by the National Hurricane Center, located in south Florida. An official forecast is the result of calculations performed by a number of complex computer models that project the future path and strength of a particular storm. Different computer models will often give differing

results. When this occurs, the forecaster draws on individual and collective expertise and experience to arrive at the forecast that is issued to the public. Over the past 30 years forecasters have seen a slow but steady improvement in the accuracy of hurricane track forecasts, averaging about 1 percent greater accuracy per year. For example, in 1997 the average errorthe difference between where a hurricane is forecasted and where it actually goesin a track forecast made for 24 hours into the future was about 185 km (about 115 mi). At 72 hours in advance, the average forecast error was about 555 km (about 345 mi). The forecasts of hurricane intensity, however, have not improved as much. Because the predictions are still imprecise and because so many people live along coastlines, it takes considerable time to complete an evacuation before winds begin to get strong. For instance, prior to Hurricane Andrew's 1992 landfall south of Miami, Florida, it was estimated that 25 hours would be needed to clear the vulnerable area in preparation for an approaching storm. Evacuations during that powerful storm probably saved hundreds of lives.

Tornadoes A tornado is a highly concentrated vortex of wind that occurs in extreme thunderstorms. Tornadoes occur all over the world, but are most common west of the Appalachian Mountains and east of the Rocky Mountains, especially in the Great Plains of the United States. Tornadoes are often associated with afternoon or evening thunderstorms and can occur as a result of the intense thunderstorms in hurricanes. The most violent tornadoes boast winds of up to 500 km/h (300 mph), powerful enough to lift a car off the ground or demolish a strongly built house. A tornado's winds can wreak tremendous damage and pose a great threat to human life. In the United States, tornadoes cause billions of dollars in damage and kill about 50 people each year. Because tornadoes have potential for large impacts and because they can occur with little advance warning, many researchers in the scientific community have made tornado prediction a priority. Scientists do not fully understand tornado formation, so prediction of where and when tornadoes will occur remains difficult. For example, it is generally accepted that the false alarm rate for tornadoes is around 80 percent. Tornado warnings are generated by a detection system that has both a high-tech and a human component. The human component is a network of volunteer storm spotterscalled SKYWARNwho work with their local communities to identify tornadoes when they occur and then communicate this information to emergency officials. The high-tech aspect of tornado warning is the national Doppler radar network that has made it possible, under certain circumstances, for scientists to see a tornado's winds with the high-resolution images provided by these radars. The National Weather Service uses the

information provided by spotters and the Doppler radars to issue warnings to the general public via television, radio, and, in some places, tornado sirens. Scientists are seeking to better understand tornadoes. This requires obtaining improved information about what is going on inside a tornado thunderstorm. In the mid-1980s the National Severe Storms Laboratory pursued a project, called To table .

Floods A hurricane is a migratory tropical cyclone that originates over oceans in certain regions near the equator. The modern era of hurricane forecasting began in the 1960s, when satellites allowed continuous monitoring of hurricanes from space. Today, people who live on coastlines and islands vulnerable to the impacts of hurricanes pay close attention to the forecasts of a hurricane's intensity and track, or path. Hurricane forecasts are an important element in decisions to secure property, warn and evacuate populations, and initiate relief operations in affected areas. In the United States, official hurricane forecasts are issued by the National Hurricane Center, located in south Florida. An official forecast is the result of calculations performed by a number of complex computer models that project the future path and strength of a particular storm. Different computer models will often give differing results. When this occurs, the forecaster draws on individual and collective expertise and experience to arrive at the forecast that is issued to the public. Over the past 30 years forecasters have seen a slow but steady improvement in the accuracy of hurricane track forecasts, averaging about 1 percent greater accuracy per year. For example, in 1997 the average errorthe difference between where a hurricane is forecasted and where it actually goesin a track forecast made for 24 hours into the future was about 185 km (about 115 mi). At 72 hours in advance, the average forecast error was about 555 km (about 345 mi). The forecasts of hurricane intensity, however, have not improved as much. Because the predictions are still imprecise and because so many people live along coastlines, it takes considerable time to complete an evacuation before winds begin to get strong. For instance, prior to Hurricane Andrew's 1992 landfall south of Miami, Florida, it was estimated that 25 hours would be needed to clear the vulnerable area in preparation for an approaching storm. Evacuations during that powerful storm probably saved hundreds of lives.