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sevenfourteen's avatar

What is the worst kind of natural disaster?

Asked by sevenfourteen (2419 points ) April 6th, 2010

Landslide? Avalanche? Forrest fire (or is that manmade..)? Tsunami? Tornado? Noreaster? Flood? Earthquake? (Don’t hesitate to mention any I’m forgetting)

Which would you least like to experience?

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36 Answers

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Trillian's avatar

The kind where no one survives.

plethora's avatar

Being sealed alive in a coal mine maybe?

earthduzt's avatar

An asteroid the size of Manhattan that strikes the earth at about 25,000 miles per hour.

DeanV's avatar

Giant Lizard. Just like in Sim City.

davidbetterman's avatar

I would least like to experience the kind of natural disaster where the earth is left half dead and all the high tech crap we play with now becomes useless…

talljasperman's avatar

zombie apocoplise

WestRiverrat's avatar

The one where you are the only survivor.

mangeons's avatar

Hurricanes are what I’m most afraid of. But to be honest, I’m afraid of all natural disasters really (fires, tornados, tsunamis, etc). Terrified.

DominicX's avatar

Hard to say. Hurricanes seem to do enormous damage and come pretty frequently, but you can see them coming, so the chances of being caught in one are slim. Earthquakes on the other hand are unpredictable and can do enormous damage as well. I am going to go with earthquakes and this is coming from someone who lives in California, a.k.a. “The Earthquake State”.

Tornadoes freak me out as well because of their unpredictability and ability to do great damage. But all the places where tornadoes occur are no places where I would ever really want to live. :P

tranquilsea's avatar

A tsunami somewhere you couldn’t run for high ground and if I had all my kids around me. Terrifying.

Centaur's avatar

Locking keys in the car twice in one day!

mangeons's avatar

@DominicX I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…

plethora's avatar

@mangeons Honest…don’t sweat em…as MacArthur said to Patton, “You never hear the one that gets you”

wonderingwhy's avatar

The kind that ends with you dead. I’ve been in earthquakes, hurricanes, nor’easters, and snowed in (in both a house and a tent), and threatened flash floods and forest fires (no they’re not all man-made, many are caused by dry conditions and lightning), none are particularly fun. Personally tornadoes just seem like the worst, that’s purely an opinion though, no facts, they just strike me as nasty.

Draconess25's avatar

Flash flood, tsunami, or blizzard.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@wonderingwhy I have to disagree with the kind that leaves you dead. There are worse things than being dead.

JLeslie's avatar

I once heard that flash flood actually kills the most people per year in the US of all natural disasters.

@DominicX I have lived through a lot of hurricanes, and if you live in a place that is not below sea level and you are in a well built home, the injury and death rates are very low considering the massive area hurricanes cover. Plus, you get lots of warning usually. Hurricane Wilma was really bad. I had about $30K of damage done to my house, well not really my house, it was the screen enclosure around my pool, but my house was fine, and so were all of the houses around me. I think there were only 4 hurricane related deaths. Hurrican Andrew, which was really bad, demolished thousands of homes only had around 60 related deaths I think. Some of the deaths counted are actually after the fact, like people using generators and getting monoxide posioning, or walking outside, and stepping into a puddle that has a downed live powerline in it, or using candles and catching the house on fire. One tornado can kill 50 people in 10 minutes. A tornado 3 is like a hurrican 5 in terms of windspeed.

Now if you live in a mobile home, then the hurricane is pretty bad, but there is plenty of time to evacuate beforehand. If you live in places like Puerto Rico, hurricanes lead to mudslides, which are awful, houses slide down the mountainside.

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

Dooms day is the worst kind.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Hurricanes and earthquakes create massive damage and are probably near the top of the list of worst disasters. Tornadoes strike quick and annihilate everything in their way so they’re equally destructive but on a smaller scale. Floods can stay around for a long time and create long term problems and damage so they’re nasty in their own way in that regard. Volcanic eruptions have had their place in history too where they’ve caused devastating damage to towns and villages and perpetuated large losses of life (think: Pompeii). The eruption of Krakatoa was another disaster that was horribly destructive and massive in scope.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

If our earth suddenly got hit by a speeding gigantic asteroid from outerspace, decimating a lot of life and creating a world devoid of sunlight for many years, like what theoretically happened to the dinosaurs. That would be terrible, because it could cause the extinction of all life on earth.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES If that is true, wouldn’t our ancesters have all died when the dinosaurs did?

plethora's avatar

@wonderingwhy @WestRiverrat Yes…there are far worse things than being dead. That’s why tornados are so nice. Never heard of anyone surviving one. Boom…you’re gone.

filmfann's avatar

@plethora Dorothy Gale from Kansas.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@WestRiverrat We were just lucky. The asteroid wasn’t big enough to kill everything off. But out there in the big ol’ universe, an even bigger asteroid may be lurking about, ready to hit us. Then all life would be in trouble. It’s just a matter of luck (or bad luck I should say!) Lol.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

The one that takes your house and family.

In the same way that a “recession” is when your neighbor loses his job, and a “Depression” is when you lose your own.

YARNLADY's avatar

The kind that leave me alive and everyone else dead.

mattbrowne's avatar

This might give you some clues:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_disasters_by_death_toll

Smallpox killed 300 million people just between 1900 and 1980. Malaria, measles and TB are close.

The Great Chinese Famine killed at least 15 million people between 1958–1961.

JLeslie's avatar

When I read this question I thought of injury and death, not losing a house or general wreckage.

@mattbrowne I had not thought of disease; good one.

mangeons's avatar

@JLeslie I’m also always really afraid of getting carbon monoxide poisoning as well. If you haven’t noticed, I tend to worry about things that will probably never happen to me. :P

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If we’re thinking “worst” in terms of loss of life, then I guess mass extinction events like major asteroid hits and super-volcano eruptions like Krakatoa and Thera would be at the top of my list.

JLeslie's avatar

@mangeons Haha, join the club.

mangeons's avatar

Pft, I got it from @augustlan, so at least I can blame her. :P

mattbrowne's avatar

@CyanoticWasp – Disasters can be classified into low/high impact and low/high frequences. Your examples fall into the high impact – low frequency category.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mattbrowne… which was why I qualified my answer. Here are more:

In terms of ‘square miles of ground paved with asphalt’, then the worst disaster may have been the invention of the internal combustion engine.

In terms of ‘loss of life of tuna fishes’, then the worst disaster is the development of (primarily) Japanese taste for sashimi.

In terms of ‘loss of grizzly bear habitat’, the worst disaster was the westward migration of European settlers in North America.

In terms of bison depopulation in the Great Plains of North America, the worst disaster was the completion and operation of the Transcontinental Railway.

… and so forth.

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