Hazards & Disasters

Hazards and disasters describe a range of phenomena from those ascribed to nature, including hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and volcanoes, to those in which both humans and nature share a role. This includes some episodes of natural flooding and wildfires to those purely of human origin like the chemical leak in Bhopal and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

No matter the cause, human lives and well-being are often at risk in addition to large swaths of the natural environment. Hazards and disasters affect populations worldwide, regardless of politics, wealth, location or other factors which tend to differentiate populations 

  • Derecho Featured Article Derecho Derecho

    Two types of derecho may be distinguished based largely on the organization and behavior of the associated derecho-producing convective system. The type of derecho most often... More »

  • Wind turbine bat mortality Featured Article Wind turbine bat mortality Wind turbine bat mortality

    Wind turbine bat mortality is a significant adverse impact of large scale wind energy development. Wind energy has become an increasingly important sector of the renewable... More »

  • After Fukushima Featured News Article After Fukushima After Fukushima

    SciDev.Net has produced a special Spotlight on "Nuclear Power After Fukushima" on 29 September 2011. SciDev.Net Spotlights are collections of feature, news and opinion... More »

  • What is a Tsunami? Featured Article What is a Tsunami? What is a Tsunami?

    What is a Tsunami? The phenomenon we call tsunami is a series of large waves of extremely long wavelength and period usually generated by a violent, impulsive undersea... More »

  • How Do Earthquakes Generate Tsunamis? Featured Article How Do Earthquakes Generate Tsunamis? How Do Earthquakes Generate Tsunamis?

    By far, the most destructive tsunamis are generated from large, shallow earthquakes with an epicenter or fault line near or on the ocean floor.  These usually occur in... More »

  • Dark side of insulation Featured Article Dark side of insulation Dark side of insulation

    Building insulation has become a modish activity in the western world since the 1980s. Considerable benefits can accrue in energy conservation, occupant comfort and reduction of... More »

  • Earthquake Featured Article Earthquake Earthquake

    An earthquake is a sudden vibration or trembling in the Earth. More than 150,000 tremors strong enough to be felt by humans occur each year worldwide (see Chance of an... More »

Recently Updated
Asian Carp and the Great Lakes Region Last Updated on 2014-06-20 13:48:30 Alien species of Asian carp are a significant ongoing adverse ecological threat to the Great Lakes of North America. Chief pathways for the introduction of these species has been from the waterways of the city of Chicago, Illinois. The U.S. Congress and federal regulatory agencies are investigating protocols to reduce alien species influxes from Chicago waterways into the Great Lakes, whose fishery value is approximately seven billion dollars per annum. The city of Chicago has resisted environmental protection initiatives, on the grounds that the city's commercial interests may be harmed. Four species of non-indigenous Asian carp are expanding their range in U.S. waterways, resulting in a variety of concerns and problems. Three species—bighead, silver, and black carp—are of particular note, based on the perceived degree of environmental concern. Current controversy... More »
Earthquake Last Updated on 2014-05-01 14:06:10 An earthquake is a sudden vibration or trembling in the Earth. More than 150,000 tremors strong enough to be felt by humans occur each year worldwide (see Chance of an Earthquake). Earthquake motion is caused by the quick release of stored potential energy into the kinetic energy of motion. Most earthquakes are produced along faults, tectonic plate boundary zones, or along the mid-oceanic ridges (Figures 1 and 2). At these areas, large masses of rock that are moving past each other can become locked due to friction. Friction is overcome when the accumulating stress has enough force to cause a sudden slippage of the rock masses. The magnitude of the shock wave released into the surrounding rocks is controlled by the quantity of stress built up because of friction, the distance the rock moved when the slippage occurred, and ability of the... More »
Accidental release source terms Last Updated on 2013-12-18 14:53:28 Accidental release source terms are the mathematical equations that quantify the flow rate at which accidental releases of air pollutants into the ambient environment can occur at industrial facilities such as petroleum refineries, natural gas processing plants, petrochemical and chemical plants, oil and gas transportation pipelines, and many other industrial facilities. Accidental releases in such facilities may occur through acts of nature (e.g., floods, hurricanes or earthquakes), operational errors, faulty design or inadequate  maintenance. Governmental regulations in a many countries require that the probability of such accidental releases be analyzed and their quantitative impact upon the environment and human health be determined so that mitigating steps can be planned and implemented. There are a number of mathematical calculation methods for determining the flow rate... More »
Public Health Statement for Ionizing Radiation Last Updated on 2013-09-28 16:17:13 This article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by EoE editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the EoE. September 1999 En Español This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for ionizing radiation. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects. A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737. This public health statement tells you about ionizing radiation and... More »
Subduction Last Updated on 2013-08-11 09:49:32 Subduction is a term used in earth science to describe the process where of the oceanic lithosphere (the outer solid part of the Earth, including the crust and uppermost mantle, about 100 km thick) collides with and descends beneath the part of the lithosphere. In terms of tectonics, subduction is the result of two tectonic plates converging, and one plate sliding (subducting) under another plate. The term "subduction zone" is used to describe the region where subduction occurs and the characteristics associated with subduction are observed. The gliding of one plate under the other is not smooth but jerky producing seismic waves. Thus, subduction is associated with earthquakes. Subduction results in the creation of molten magma that gives rises to volcanism, particularly a line of volcanoes known as "arc volcanoes" or a series of volcanic islands. Most volcanoes... More »