Welcome to the blog for ISP203B, a class on Natural Hazards and Disasters taught at Michigan State University. Section 2 in the Spring Semester of 2011 is taught by Remke van Dam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences. This blog will be used by both myself and students in the class to post short commentaries on current, recent, and historical events.

5 Responses to About

  1. David Walker says:

    Cyclones Bombard Australia With Rain

    Cyclones near Australia have led to heavy rainfall, specifically cyclone Carlos. Record levels of rain, over 684mm of rain fell in Darwin, Australia over the span of four days. Subsequently, homes were evacuated, the Darwin airport was shut down and also the city’s dam overflowed resulting in flooding. Sandbags have been used to help curtail some of the flooding. Fears of a storm surge have begun to circulate among the residents of Darwin. Also, another cyclone, cyclone Dianne has been developing near Australia as well and could be a category 3. Dianne is the fifth cyclone to hit Australia this season. As you can tell, Australia has had a busy cyclone season this year. This busy cyclone season was predicted and experts believe that it is due to the La Nina system. However, La Nina didn’t affect Australia exclusively. Sri Lanka has also been hit with storms and flooding this season.

  2. Sung Soo Kim says:

    Earthquakes are kill people ever year and have been doing so for quite some time. Last year, on September 4, 2010, a nasty earthquake hit down in New Zealand. The earthquake struck Christchurch causing 65 deaths and many missing persons. The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3 and was said to be the second largest earthquake in the last five months. The earthquake caused a great deal of destruction in the city of Christchurch. Building had completely fallen, vehicles were destroyed, and many helpless people happened to get trapped in all the confusion under various materials. Thousands of earthquakes occur around this area each year even if they cause no damage. Scientists believe that this trend will continue in the future. Earthquakes are a natural disaster and there is nothing humans can do to truly stop them. However, we can as people take precautions to upcoming earthquakes!

  3. Cameron Chauncey says:

    Scientists around the world today believe that average temperatures will continue to rise consistently for years to come. We have already witnessed effects that are believed to be directly related to climate change. Members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict that over the next century we could see an increase of approximately 2.5 to 10 degrees. Although these temperature changes don’t seem drastic, they can cause extreme changes to the environments within our planet. For example if temperatures were approximately 5 degrees lower than what they are today, they could possible cause another ice age. The slightest increase in these temperatures over time could lead to changes in ocean levels dramatically altering coastal areas around the globe.

    Cameron C.

  4. After Effects from Japan Earthquake

    We all know by now that a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan and caused a huge tsunami that did major damage across Japan, and now faces one of the worst nuclear emergency’s in recent memory. On April 8th Japan experienced the largest aftershock yet from this earthquake leaving the northeast part of the country without power. (Over 900,000 with no power) Japan says more aftershocks are going to come. This could cause Japan many problems. They have been working very hard to minimize the effects of the damaged nuclear reactor plants. They recently dumbed 11,500 tons of radiated water into the Pacific Ocean (which is a whole other problem in and of itself) to make room for even more radioactive water. This is highly reliant on having power. If an aftershock was to hit one of the plants dealing with the radioactive water and reactors the effects on Japan could be devasting.


    Most people have the choice of where to reside, however nobody makes the decision knowing they are about to be blasted with volcanic debris. On November 13, 1985 in Armero, Colombia the great Nevado Del Ruiz volcano erupted “silently”. Two hours after a seismograph recorded Earth shaking results, the Nevado Del Ruiz quickly took the lives of around 23,000 people. The volcanic debris and the resulting mudflows of the volcano stretched out nearly 10 kilometers in every direction destroying thousands of homes and families. The actual amount of magma that erupted from the volcano was minimal, and this is why the amount of lives the disaster took was so shocking to so many people. The date November 13, 1985 will go down in the history books as one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit planet Earth in human existence. Even though the event was extremely tragic it can teach future generations a valuable lesson. Be aware of your surroundings and realize that certain areas around the world are more dangerous than others depending on the circumstance!

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