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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 »

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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 »
Richter scale Last Updated on 2013-07-18 16:15:15 The Richter scale (or Richter magnitude scale or local magnitude [ML]) scale) is a measure of the magnitude of (or more specificifically the energy released by) an earthquake that is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded on a seismogram at a certain period. The Richter magnitude scale was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter of the California Institute of Technology as the "local magnitude" or ML scale for moderate-size (3 < ML < 7) earthquakes in southern California. The ML scale is often called the “Richter scale” by the press and the public. Fundamentally, it is a mathematical way to compare the size of earthquakes. The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs. Adjustments are included for the variation in the distance between the various... More »
Strait of Malacca Last Updated on 2013-05-16 00:00:00 The Strait of Malacca, located between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, links the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and Persian Gulf. The length of the strait is about 800 kilometres. At its narrowest point in the Phillips Channel of the Singapore Strait, Malacca is only approximately 1.7 miles wide, creating a natural bottleneck, as well as potential for collisions, piracy, grounding, or water pollution, particularly for oil spills. Geography The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Strait of Malacca as shown by the dashed lines on the map below. However, for practical purposes, many include the Singapore Strait as part of Malacca. Base map source: Demis Importance for Oil Transportation Malacca is the shortest sea route between Persian Gulf suppliers and the Asian markets—notably China, Japan, South Korea, and the... More »