Astonishing Natural Disasters In History

By | March 3, 2023

1889 Johnstown Flood

It seems like there's a natural disaster every other day somewhere in the world, and it's easy to panic about something with "disaster" right in the name. That's not to say there's nothing to be alarmed about---don't take this as discouragement from following your local authorities' evacuation instructions when the big one hits. It's important to remember, however, that Mother Earth is an old broad. She's been there, done that, and she's survived much worse than what's currently being thrown at her. Well, mostly.

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It's never a good thing to find your city underwater, but the 1889 flood of Johnstown, Pennsylvania was exceptionally severe. After several days of heavy rain in late May of that year, a reservoir owned by a country club whose membership included Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Flick burst from the strain, because they apparently couldn't afford to keep up the repairs. As a result, 20 million tons of water killed more than 2,200 people and washed away 1,600 homes. Three decades later, bodies were still being found as far away as Cincinnati. About 750 of those bodies were never identified and rest today in a section of a local cemetery called the Plot of the Unknown, which you have to admit is at least pretty metal.

Two days after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, a Japanese home which was adrift miles from the coast of Japan, 2011

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Source: Reddit

The earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 was notable for two reasons: The sheer financial destruction and the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Although relatively few people were killed or injured, hundreds of thousands lost their homes, with 50,000 still living in temporary shelter in six years later. The damage to buildings and the local economy was astronomical, totaling up to $235 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in history. The nuclear meltdown was particularly catastrophic, causing nuclear material to wash up as far as the shores of California and Canada along with other tsunami debris.