Earthquakes and hurricanes: nature's fury unleashed in 2011

Hurricane Irene photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons

Today, Alaska was hit by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake and Argentina by a  6.4 earthquake. 

This year, Mother Nature has been relentless in punishing every corner of the world. Apocalypse, coincidence or climate change? Here's a recap of some of the major natural disasters that impacted the world this year:

Flood waters in Australia

In January, Australia endured one of the worst flood waters in decades making  its way in the city of Brisbane. The "biblical" flooding surged through Southern Queensland in December 2010. By then around 200,000 people had been displaced.

photo from MSNBC.com

Earthquakes in New Zealand

In February, An earthquake of 6.3- magnitude stuck New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchuch, taking everything on its way. The city had been already hit by a 7.1 magnitude quake in September last year, and this was a  part of an “aftershock sequence.”  It killed 181 people.

New Zealanders got no chance to recover as a new earthquake struck the country. It had a magnitude of 5.3, according to U.S Geological Survey, but another agency in measured the earthquake at 6.3-magnitude. The epicentre was about 72 km southwest of Rotorua.

Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis

 The Japanese were ravaged by a powerful 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck the Northeast region in March.  After the earthquake a tsunami ensued. It reached 10 km inland taking with it buildings, boats and cars.

By mid-March, officials reported more than 10,000 dead and and around 13, 000 missing. As if that wasn't enough, the Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant were hit by the quake and tsunami causing nuclear reactors to boil the water much higher than normal after the cooling system was knocked out.

This nuclear crisis echoed the catastrophe in Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine 25 years ago, spreading a global fear of radiation and nuclear contamination.

photo sourced from Freeimagesonline.com

Volcano erupts in Iceland

After seven years being dormant, volcano Grímsvötn decided to wake up and shake things up.

The Atlantic.com reported that people living next to the glacier where the Grímsvötn volcano burst were most severely affected, with ash blocking out the daylight and smothering buildings and vehicles. Iceland also closed its main international airport and canceled domestic flights on Sunday, and aviation officials will be closely monitoring European airspace for the next few days.

Grímsvötn is the most active volcano of Iceland,  located in the biggest glacier of the country,  Vatnajokull , South East of Iceland.

Earthquake hits Peruvian jungle

On August 24, the Amazon region of Peru was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake near the Brazilian border. The epicentre was in Pucallpa 600 Km from Lima.

There was no serious damages or injuries and officials reported there was not collapsed homes, but problems with telephone lines.

Irate Irene smacks the the East Coast

After wreaking havoc in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and other islands of the region), Hurricane Irene hit Eastern U.S. in late August, leaving more than  5 million people without power and killing 43 people.

Heavy rains and floods ensured doing a severe damage in some of the states, being the worst in Vermont, New Jersey and upstate New York. Other states affected by Irene were Virginia, North Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland and Florida.

Irene, now downgraded to tropical storm,  also paid a visit to the Canadian East Coast. It struck in Quebec and the Maritimes, New Brunswick,  Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island.

While in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s ten of thousands were left without power, in Quebec  the number rise to 215,000 customers left without electricity.

Earthquakes pummel North and South America

A 7.1 earthquake (lowered to 6.8) hit Alaska past midnight. The epicentre was located at the North Pacific Ocean, between Russia and Alaska. It also struck in the Bering Sea,  27 miles south from the Amutka Island.  The tremblor was followed by ”major after shocks”.

 

Less than 24 hours later, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck in Santiago del Estero, north-central Argentina. However, in  Buenos Aires (located 800 km from the epicentre)even though  the quake was strong enough to make people panic and leave their offices, it was hardly noticed by the those living in the surrounding areas of  Santiago del Estero. No major damages were reported.

The Associated Press has the story on Alaska. Click here for more on the Argentina quake.

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