Notable Natural Disasters combines clearly explained scientific concepts with gripping narrative details about memorable disasters. It focuses on events caused, at least in part, by uncontrollable forces of nature. So, though human error played a role in many iceberg collisions, natural conditions were clearly a cause. Decisions were also made regarding scope and focus. For example, only wildfires affecting cities or whole regions are addressed, rather than tragic urban blazes. The set begins with disaster overviews by type. Each essay explains the disaster in scientific terms. First, a few sentences define the natural phenomenon and its importance. Then, the factors involved (e.g. chemical reactions, ice, wind) and the regions affected (cities, coasts, forests) are listed. Subsections to overviews discuss the science behind the phenomenon in lay terms. Sections such as "Prevention and Preparations" and "Rescue and Relief Efforts" further illuminate disasters. The overviews are followed by entries on the 100 worst disasters in history. These narrative-style essays offer facts, figures, and interesting stories.
Events were chosen based on loss of life, widespread destruction, and notable circumstances. They range in time from 65,000,000 b.c.e. to 2006 and cover five continents. Each event entry begins with a general description of location or the popular designation for the disaster, plus the most accurate date for the event. Magnitude on the Richter scale, either official or estimated, is given for earthquakes. The best speed estimate is listed for hurricanes, if available. For tornadoes, the most reliable F-rating is offered. Measure on the Volcanic Explosivity Index is provided for some eruptions. Estimated temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius is listed for heat waves. "Result" lists the best figures for total numbers of dead or injured, people left homeless, damage, structures or acres burned, and so forth. Then, each entry provides readers with an account - before, during, and after - of the disaster, including both broad scientific and historical facts and narrative details. "For Further Information" lists books, chapters, magazines, or newspapers that offer specific coverage of that particular event.
Its special features include - a Glossary that defines essential meteorological and geological terms, a Bibliography that offers sources for more material about natural disasters, and a list of Organizations and Agencies that provides information about warning and relief efforts. The List of Entries by Category breaks the 100 events into disaster types, and the Geographical Index organizes the events by region, country, or state. A comprehensive subject Index concludes the volume.show more