Natural disasters

Gulf Coast of Florida tidal flats exposed by an early morning low tide.

Changing Tides: A Series of Ocean Discussions

The ocean is essential to all life, but experts agree that there are changes affecting the ocean and how it functions. With this in mind, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Centers...

Tracking Tsunamis

Tsunamis, giant waves caused by underwater earthquakes, speed across the ocean at 400 miles per hour. Early warning systems, such as NOAA’s DART systems, are key to saving lives. Today, 47 DART stations are...

Changing Tides Lecture: Predicting a Hurricane's Path of Destruction

Dr. Isaac Ginis presented "Eye on the Storm: Predicting a Hurricane's Path of Destruction", in October 2010. This second installment of the Changing Tides lecture series featured Dr. Isaac Ginis, a Professor of Oceanography...

Understanding the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Using maps and graphics, Smithsonian geologist Dr. Liz Cottrell provides an overview of the major earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011—one of the largest ever recorded globally. She explains the...

Demonstrating an Earthquake's Seismic Waves

On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake emanated from the little-known Central Virginia Seismic Zone. The epicenter was near Mineral, VA, but the tremor shook homes, schools, and office buildings in Washington, DC, including...

How Hurricanes Shape Wetlands in Southern Louisiana

The grasses and animals living in marshes help to filter water and stabilize shorelines, along with providing habitat for a variety of mammals, fish, shellfish and amphibians and a haven for migratory waterfowl. Credit:...
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Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones

Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans and many other areas of the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Credit: NASA, MODIS Rapid Response Team/Marine Photobank What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon and a cyclone?...
Aerial image of Hurricane Bill

The Ingredients for a Hurricane

Dr. Isaac Ginis' presentation, "Eye on the Storm: Predicting a Hurricane's Path of Destruction."You can also read his " Ingredients of a Hurricane " post on our blog. I became interested in weather phenomena...
a colored shakemap from the M5.8 Virginia Earthquake depicts the shake range and epicenter of the earthquake

A Guide to Earthquake Lesson Plans

On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake emanated from the little-known Central Virginia Seismic Zone. The epicenter was near Mineral, VA, but the tremor shook homes, schools, and office buildings in Washington, DC and...