This research guide will help to meet the following objectives:
Complications in searching for information on disasters:
It is the nature of natural disasters that if a disaster has happened once, it is likely to happen again. So you must determine if you are studying a historic disaster, a current disaster, the threat of a disaster, or all three.
Historic or current disasters often have a name, which might make searching easier. However, some of the names are so legendary that they have come to mean something else, for example, Vesuvius, the name of a notorious volcano in Italy that destroyed a city in 79 C.E., has also been used for, among other things, the name of Italian restaurants.
Because the threat of a natural disaster is so disturbing, it often becomes of focus of irresponsible writing and websites. Determining the credibility of a source is crucial:
When looking at information found on the Internet, it is important to evaluate the quality of the material that you find.
Key Items to Review:
For detailed information, please see the following sites:
Natural hazard: a natural process and event that is a potential threat to human life and property. Examples: a dormant volcano; an earthquake fault; a boulder at the top of a steep slope.
Natural disaster: a hazardous event that occurs ovr a limited time span within a defined area. Criteria for a natural disaster are any one of the four following circumstances: (1) 10 or more people are killed, (2) 100 or more people are affected, (3) a state of emergency is declared, and/or (4) international assistance is requested.
Catastrophe: a massive disaster that requires a significant expenditure of money and a long time (often years) for (any) recovery to take place. Examples: Hurricane Katrina flooding New Orleans and the Mississippi coast, 2005; Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, 2011; Haiti Earthquake, 2010; Mississippi floods, 1993.
Risk: Product of the probability of a particular event occurring and the likely consequences should it occur -- (Probability X Consequences).
--Modified from Keller and DeVecchio. Natural Hazards, 4th ed., 2015.