Natural Disasters

Explore the topics below to learn about Natural Disasters through newspaper articles and clippings.

Wreckage from the Galveston, Texas, Hurricane in 1900

1900 Galveston Hurricane

Summary On September 8, 1900, Galveston, Texas, was struck by a category 4 hurricane that decimated the island and killed thousands of people, making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Great Galveston Hurricane The day before the hurricane struck, heavy swells were noticed in the Gulf, and by the early morning of the …Read More

Temporary hospital in California for Spanish flu victims, 1918

1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic

In 1918, the most severe pandemic in recent history spread across the globe. The Spanish flu, or the H1N1 virus, infected 500 million people (about a third of the world’s population). Before it was over, about 40 million people died worldwide. Origins Though the origin of the virus is not known, it arrived during World …Read More

The Currier & Ives lithograph showing people fleeing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire burned October 8 to 10, 1871, in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, with its frequent high winds and countless wooden structures, was prone to fires even before the “Great Fire” tore through the city. However, none was so destructive as this one. It ultimately killed 300 people and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings. …Read More

Destruction in Johnstown after the flood

Johnstown Flood

On May 31, 1889, South Fork Dam near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, collapsed, releasing the entire volume of Lake Conemaugh into the valley below. The ensuing disaster, known as the Johnstown Flood, resulted in the deaths of over 2,200 people. Johnstown In 1889, around 30,000 people lived in the booming steel mill city of Johnstown, located in …Read More

Mount St. Helens, 1982

Mount St. Helens 1980 Eruption

On May 18, 1980, a major volcanic eruption occurred at Mount St. Helens, a volcano located in Skamania County, in the State of Washington. The eruption (a VEI 5 event) was the most significant volcanic eruption to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states since the much smaller 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California. …Read More

Ruins of San Francisco near Post and Grant Avenue

San Francisco Earthquake of 1906

On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 a.m., San Francisco and the surrounding area was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter just two miles west of the city. Massive fires followed, burning a large portion of the city over the course of three days. Three thousand people were killed in the disaster, and half …Read More