Tragedies of the Crowsnest Pass, Part II

For Part I, click here. Crowsnest Lake, near the summit of Crowsnest Pass. Source: M. Rogers, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crowsnest_pass.jpg. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. In this 78 km (48 mi) corridor split between the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, over 400 people were killed in various explosions, fires, and landslides…

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Tragedies of the Crowsnest Pass, Part I

Crowsnest Lake, near the summit of Crowsnest Pass. Source: M. Rogers, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crowsnest_pass.jpg. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. In a country known for its mountain scenery, the Crowsnest Pass corridor between British Columbia and Alberta manages to stand out as one of Canada’s most scenic mountain destinations. Contained within its gorgeous…

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The Vajont Dam Disaster

Five decades ago, one of the deadliest dam breaches in history taught engineers a tragic lesson about constructing hydroelectric dams in geologically-unstable regions. At 261.6 m (862 ft) in height, the thin concrete arch Vajont Dam, on the Vajont River in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia a few dozen metres above its border with…

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Life in the Chernobyl Zone of Alienation

Trees and grasses in bloom, Pripyat, Ukraine.  Source: Audun K, http://www.flickr.com/photos/kvitlauk/3803903860/.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-2.0 Generic licence. It’s been one year this month since the series of explosions and meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor site in eastern Japan which led to the evacuation of 70 000 people that lived in the…

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Tornadoes Around the World

When tornadoes make the news, they tend to do so for all the wrong reasons, as we were reminded of earlier this week when an outbreak of anywhere between 40 and 120 tornadoes resulted in at least 39 fatalities and untold millions of dollars in damage across the mid-eastern United States (approximately the eastern portion…

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The Collapse of Situ Gintung

Later this week, IDEC 2011, the Indonesia Disaster Preparedness Response Recovery Expo & Conference, will be held in Jakarta.  It’s a rather important deal for stakeholders, planners, and government officials, as it represents a coming-together of experts from 20 different countries in the name of disaster management.  In the past handful of years, Indonesia has…

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Craco: The Ghost on the Hill

At first glance, driving through the little village of Craco could seem like driving through any other pretty hillside village in Italy’s Basilicata region. That is, if you drive in from the northwest. Should you approach Craco from the other direction, however, you’ll see that it’s anything but ordinary: Source: Idéfix, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Craco0001.jpg. Licensed under the Creative Commons…

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How Cyclones Get Their Names

It’s hurricane/typhoon season in the Northern Hemisphere, as you are all aware of right now. Certainly those in the North Atlantic and in the West Pacific are overly aware at this point.It’s the time of year where ordinary personal names (such as Irene and Lee this year) get transformed into harbingers of doom and destruction….

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The Dead Sea: Still Dying

This is the second part of a feature on the Dead Sea. For part one, click here. Source: Hoshana, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dead_sea_ecological_disaster_1960_-_2007.gif.Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence. Since the 1960s, we’ve been watching the Aral Sea slowly evaporate away into nothingness and Lake Chad nearly follow the same course; ecological disasters on a…

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