Thread: World History
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Old Tuesday, June 26, 2007
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A flood occurs when a body of water rises and overflows onto normally dry land. Floods occur most commonly when water from heavy rainfall, from melting ice and snow, or from a combination of these exceeds the carrying capacity of the river system, lake, or ocean into which it runs.

Where: The Netherlands and England
When: 1099
A combination of high tides and storm waves on the North Sea flooded coastal areas of England and the Netherlands, killing 100,000 people.

Where: United States
When: 1889
The Johnstown Flood, in Pennsylvania, was considered one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. After an unusually heavy rainstorm, a dam several miles upriver from Johnstown broke. One out of every 10 people in the path of the flood died, a total of 2,000 people in less than an hour.

Where: Italy
When: 1966
After a heavy rainfall, the Arno River overflowed, flooding the streets of Florence. Many great works of art in the museums were damaged, as was the architecture of the city. In two days, more than 100 people died and the city was covered with half a million tons of mud, silt, and sewage.

Deadliest Earthquakes

Date ---------------- Location ---------Deaths -----------Magnitude

Jan. 23, 1556--------- Shansi, China------ 830,000 ------------~8
July 27, 1976 -------Tangshan, China----- 255,0001------------ 7.5
Aug. 9, 1138 ---------Aleppo, Syria --------230,000 -------------n.a.
Dec. 26, 2004 ---off west coast of northern Sumatra --225,000+---- 9.0
Dec. 22, 8562------- Damghan, Iran -------200,000 --------------n.a.
May 22, 1927--- near Xining, Tsinghai, China -- 200,000 ------------7.9
Dec. 16, 1920----- Gansu, China ------------200,000------------ 7.8
March 23, 8932 -----Ardabil, Iran----------- 150,000 ------------n.a.
Sept. 1, 1923----- Kwanto, Japan ----------143,000 ------------7.9
Oct. 5, 1948 ---Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, USSR --110,000 --------7.3
Dec. 28, 1908 -------Messina, Italy-------- 70,000–100,0003 -----7.2
Sept. 1290---------- Chihli, China -----------100,000 ------------n.a.
Oct. 8, 2005---------- Pakistan ------------- 80,361------------- 7.6
Nov. 1667---------- Shemakha, Caucasia ----- 80,000------------ n.a.
Nov. 18, 1727 --------Tabriz, Iran ------------ 77,000 -----------n.a.
Dec. 25, 1932 --------Gansu, China ----------- 70,000 ----------7.6
Nov. 1, 1755 --------Lisbon, Portugal ----------70,000---------- 8.7
May 31, 1970 ----------Peru ------------------ 66,000 ----------7.9
May 30, 1935 ------Quetta, Pakistan ------- 30,000–60,000 ------7.5
Jan. 11, 1693------- Sicily, Italy ------------- 60,000 ------------n.a.
12684 -------------Silicia, Asia Minor ----------- 60,000 ----------n.a.
June 20, 1990 -----------Iran ----------------50,000------------ 7.7
Feb. 4, 1783-------- Calabria, Italy ---------- 50,000 -------------n.a.


A tsunami (pronounced soo-nahm-ee) is a series of huge waves that happen after an undersea disturbance, such as an earthquake or volcano eruption. Tsunami is from the Japanese word for “harbor wave.”

The waves travel in all directions from the area of disturbance, much like the ripples that happen after throwing a rock. The waves may travel in the open sea as fast as 450 miles per hour. As the big waves approach shallow waters along the coast they grow to a great height and smash into the shore. They can be as high as 100 feet. They can cause a lot of destruction on the shore. They are sometimes mistakenly called “tidal waves,” but tsunami have nothing to do with the tides.

Hawaii is the state at greatest risk for a tsunami. They get about one a year, with a damaging tsunami happening about every seven years. Alaska is also at high risk. California, Oregon and Washington experience a damaging tsunami about every 18 years.

On Dec. 26, 2004, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake—the largest earthquake in 40 years—occurred off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The earthquake triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the deadliest in world history. More than 226,000 died and twelve countries felt the devastation. Hardest hit were Indonesia (particularly the province of Aceh), Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and the Maldives. Millions were left homeless by the disaster.
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