Tag Archives: deadliest

The Ten Worst Worldwide Mining Disasters

The Ten Worst Worldwide Mining Disasters
As Measured By Casualties

By far the worst mining safety record belongs to China. Even today, hundreds (if not thousands—the secretive Chinese government does not reveal figures) die every year in Chinese mining accidents.

1.
April 26, 1942
Honkeiko Colliery, China

In what is probably the worst mining disaster of all time, 1,549 miners died in a mine operated in Japanese occupied Manchuria. China has a horrible history of mine safety. The Japanese also likely are culpable in this accident: the Chinese were treated as sub-human slave labor by Japanese.

2.
March 10, 1906
Courrieres, France

1,100 died in a coal dust explosion.

3.
November 9, 1963
Omuta, Japan

An explosion in a coal mine killed 447.

4.
October 14, 1913
Senghenydd, Wales, Uk

The worst of the Welsh coal mining diasters killed 438 men and boys

5.
January 1, 1960
Coalbrook, South Africa

437 casualties.

6.
June 6, 1972
Wankie, Rhodesia

A coal mine explosion kills 427.

7.
May 28, 1965
Dhanbad, India

375 miners die in a coal mine fire.

8.
December 27, 1975
Chasnala, India

A coal mine explosion, followed by flooding kills 372.

9.
December 12, 1866
Barnsley, England, UK

361 casualties.

10.
December 6, 1907
Monongah, WV

361 casualties. The worst mining disaster in US history is said to have provided the origins of the first Father’s Day celebration. A woman named Grace Clayton asked her church to hold a Sunday memorial for the fathers lost in the mine. The commemoration was held in a church in Fairmont, West Virginia.

The Deadliest US Tornadoes

The Deadliest US Tornado Outbreaks
The Top Ten Most Deadly Tornadoes In US History

Note: The 2011 Tornado Outbreak has been confirmed as of this writing (4/29/2011) to have killed 319, making it the highest death toll since 1932, when 322 were killed in Alabama. An April 1974 outbreak killed 325 people in 11 states. These however, are from multiple storms.The deadliest tornado remains the March 18, 1925 twister which killed 695 people on its 219 mile path of destruction. A total of 747 people were killed in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana when all tornadoes in that storm are accounted for.

What follows is a list of the deadliest single twisters.

1.
The Tri State Tornado
Missouri, Illinois and Indiana
March 18, 1925
Death Toll: 625

The worst tornado in US history began in southeastern Missouri, crossed through southern Illinois, and then turned into southwestern Indiana. The 625 deaths more than doubled the second deadliest tornado in US history. More than 2,000 were injured. Property damage was assessed at $16.5 million, which would be $1.7 billion in today’s dollars. The tornado left a 219 mile track, which is the longest ever recorded. It rated an F5 on the Fujita scale.

2.
The Great Natchez Tornado
Natchez, Mississippi
May 7, 1840
Death Toll: 317

Forming southwest of Natchez, the tornado moved north along the Mississippi River. When it struck Natchez, it destroyed dozens of buildings, killing at least 48. Another 269 were killed as the tornado destroyed numerous flatboats on the river. The actual number of casualties, however, may have been much higher, because in pre-Civil War Mississippi, slave deaths would not necessarily have been recorded.

3.
The St. Louis – East St. Louis Tornado
St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois
May 27, 1896
Death Toll: 255

One of the few tornados to strike a major city, this tornado touched down in St. Louis, leaving a mile-wide path of destruction through homes and commercial buildings. It then crossed the Mississippi River and blew through East. St. Louis, Illinois. The official death toll is 255, but some have estimated that the death toll may be as high as 400, since it is impossible to know how many died in boats on the Mississippi River. When adjusted for inflation, the tornado would be the costliest in US history, with an estimated price tag of $2.9 billion.

4.
The Tupelo Tornado
Tupelo, Mississippi
April 5, 1936
Death Toll: 233

Part of a storm system that also spawned the deadly Gainsville tornado, the Tupelo storm cut its way through the residential areas of Tupelo, Mississippi. One noted survivor was one-year-old Elvis Presley.

5.
The Gainsville Tornado
Gainesville, Georgia
April 6, 1936
Death Toll: 203

Following the Tupelo storm of the previous night (see number 4 above), the Gainsville Tornado destroyed several major buildings in Gainsville, Georgia, including 70 at the Cooper Pants Factory.

6.
Glazier-Higgins-Woodward Tornadoes
Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas
April 9, 1947
Death Toll: 181

This tornado—or perhaps series of tornados—is named after the three towns that suffered the greatest percentage of casualties. Seventeen were killed in Glazier, Kansas, 51 in Higgins Texas, and 107 in Woodward, Oklahoma. The tornado is thoguht to have been as much as two miles wide. More than 100 city blocks were destroyed in Woodward. In addition the the 181 killed, another 970 were injured.

7.
Amite-Pine-Purvis Tornadoes
Louisiana, Mississippi
April 24, 1908
Death Toll: 143

Leaving only seven houses intact in Purvis, Mississippi, the storm killed 143 and injured 770.

8,
Joplin, Missouri Tornado
Joplin, Missouri
May 23, 2011
Death Toll: 117

9.
New Richmond Tornado
Wisconsin
June 12, 1899
Death Toll: 117

Strong enough to blow a 3,000 pound safe a block away, the storm began as a waterspout on lake St. Croix.

10.
Flint Tornado
Michigan
June 8, 1953
Death Toll: 115

Beginning just north of Flushing, this tornado destroyed the north side of Flint before breakign up near Lapeer. It travelled 46 miles in an hour and a half. The same storm system spawned a tornado in Worcester, Massachusetts a day later.

11.
Waco Tornado
Texas
May 11, 1953
Death Toll: 114

The deadliest twister to ever hit Texas, the Waco storm damaged 600 businesses, 850 homes and 2,000 cars.

The Deadliest US Volcanic Eruptions

The Deadliest US Volcanic Eruptions

The Worst US Volcanic Eruptions

1.
Mount St. Helens, Washington State
May 18, 1980
Death Toll: 57

The 1980 eruption created a debris avalance of about 0.7 cubic miles in volume, killing 57 and destroying more than 200 homes.

2.
Novarupta, Alaska
1912
Death Toll: 0

The 1912 Novarupta was the largest volcanic explosion of the 20th Century. Ten times more powerful than the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, it ejected 9.2 square miles of debris.

The World’s Worst Volcanic Eruptions

The World’s Worst Volcanic Eruptions
As Measured by Death Toll

This list of the world’s worst volcanic eruptions includes only those whose death toll can be reasonably documented. The death toll from some of the worst eruptions in history can only be guessed. The eruption of Santorini in Greece in 1650 BC destroyed competely destroyed entire civilizations. Scientist also theorize that an eruption of Tuba around 75,000 years ago caused a volcanic winter that came close to wiping out mankind.

1.
Mt. Tambora, Indonesia
April 10 – 15, 1816
Death Toll: 92,000

The eruption of Tambora killed an estimated 92,000 people, including 10,000 from explosion and ash fall, and 82,000 from other related causes.

The concussion from the explosion was felt as far as a thousand miles away. Mt. Tambora, which was more than 13,000 feet tall before the explosion was reduced to 9,000 feet after ejecting more than 93 cubic miles of debris into the atmosphere.

The effects of the eruption were felt worldwide: 1816 became known as the “year without a summer” because of the volcanic ash in the atmosphere that lowered worldwide temperatures. It snowed in New England that June, and crop failures were common throughout Northern Europe and North America. As many as 100,000 additional deaths from starvation in these areas are thought to be traced to the eruption.

2.
Mt. Pelee, West Indies
April 25 – May 8, 1902
Death Toll: 40,000

Thought to be dormant, Mt. Pelee began a series of eruptions on April 25, 1902. The primary eruption, on May 8 completely destroyed the city of St. Pierre, killing 25,000. The only survivors were a man held in a prison cell, and a man who lived on the outskirts of the town. Several ships also were destroyed with all hands.

3.
Mt. Krakatoa, Indonesia
August 26 – 28, 1883
Death Toll: 36,000

The August 1883 of Mt. Krakatoa (Krakatua) destroyed 2/3 of the island, ejecting more than six cubic miles of debris into the atmosphere. The sound of the explosion was the loudest ever documented, and was heard as far away as Australia.

Interestingly, it’s probable that no one died in the initial explosion. The casualties all came from the resulting tsunami.

4.
Nevado del Ruiz, Columbia
November 13, 1985
Death Toll: 23,000

A small eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano melted part of the volcano’s ice cap, creating an enormous mudslide that buried the city of Armero, killing 23,000.

5.
Mt. Unzen, Japan
1792
Death Toll: 12,000 – 15,000

The eruption of Mt. Unzen was followed by an earthquake, which collapsed the east flank of the dome. The resulting avalance created a tsuanami which killed 12,000 to 15,000 in nearby towns.

6.
Mt. Vesuvius, Italy
April 24, AD 79
Death Toll: 10,000+

In one of the most famous eruptions of all time, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and completely destroyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The eruption, which is said to have lasted 19 hours, buried Pompeii in ten feet of volcanic ash. The intense heat—perhaps as much as 750 degrees—carbonized much of the organic material in the area. Many of the victims have been found with the tops of their heads missing—their brains having boiled and exploded.

7.
The Laki Volcanic System, Iceland
June 8, 1783 – February 1784
Death Toll: 9350

Nearly a year of constant eruptions created a dusty volcanic haze that created massive food shortages. Iceland suffered 9,350 deaths mostly due to starvation.

8.
Mt. Vesuvius, Italy
December 1631
Death Toll: 6,000

The notorious Mt. Vesuvius has erupted more than a dozen times since it destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The 1631 eruption killed as many as 6,000 people when lava flows consumed many of the surrounding towns. Boiling water ejected from the volcanos added to the destruction.

9.
Mt. Kelut, Indonesia
May 19, 1919
Death Toll: 5,110

Most of the casualties apparently were the result of mudslides.

10.
Mt. Galunggung, Java, Indonesia
1882
Death Toll: 4,011

The Deadliest US Floods

Worst US Floods
The Deadliest US Floods By Death Toll
The disasters listed here exclude hurricane-caused flooding. See the list of deadliest US hurricanes for these.

1.
Johnstown, PA
May 31, 1889
Death Toll: 2,200

Several days of extremely heavy rainfall, brought about the collapse of the South Fork Dam, which was 14 miles upstream of Johnstown, PA. It was the first major disaster relief effort handled by the new American Red Cross, led by Clara Barton. Support for victims came from all over the United States and 18 foreign countries. It remains one of the greatest disasters in U.S. history.

The Johnstown Flood also became a social cause celebre, because the dam that collapsed had been built to create a lake for vacationing millionaires, such as Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, while the inhabitants of the town were Welsh and German immigrants.

2.
Mississippi Valley
January and February 1937
Death Toll: 1,100

Heavy rains flooded 12,700 square miles, destroying 75,000 homes, and leaving 600,000 refugees.

3.
Ohio River
March, 1913
Death Toll: 700

Heavy rains brought severe flooding. The disaster led to the nation’s first flood control board and programs.

4.
Santa Paula, CA
March 12, 1928
Death Toll: 450

Collapse of the St. Francis Dam

5.
Rapid City, SD
June 9 – 10, 1972
Death Toll: 237
Flash flood

6.
Kansas City, Missouri
May 16 – June 1, 1903
Death Toll: 200

Heavy rains brought flooding that raised the level of the Missouri River 35 feet.

7.
Mississippi Valley
April – May 1912
Death Toll: 200

The Mississippi River overflows its banks.

8.
Willow Creek, OR
1903
Death Toll: 200
Flash flood sweeps away a third of the town.

9.
Man, WV
Feb. 26, 1972
Death Toll: 118
Slag pile dam collapses under torrential rains.

10.
Loveland, CO
August 1, 1976
Death Toll: 139
Flash flood in Big Thompson Canyon

The World’s Worst Floods By Death Toll

The World’s Worst Floods
The Deadliest Floods As Measured By Death Toll
The World’s Worst Floods
The Deadliest Floods As Measured By Death Toll

Throughout history, floods have proven to be the deadliest natural disasters. This is mainly due to the high population densities around rivers. When well-behaved, rivers provide the resources needed for agriculture, transportation, and industry. It is no accident that all of the ancient civilizations rose around rivers.

It also should be noted that not all of the dead were the victims of the initial floodwaters. Disease and famine that followed the disasters probably killed more than the floodwaters themselves.

Flooding disasters primarily as a result of typhoons or hurricanes have been excluded from this list and are instead included on the list of worst hurricane disasters.

1.
Huang He (Yellow) River, China
1931
Death Toll: 1,000,000 to 3,700,000

The Huang He River is prone to flooding because of the broad expanse of plain that lies around it. One of the major reasons for the flooding is the high silt content that gives the river its yellow tint (and thus its name). The silt—which constitutes as much as 60% of its volume—builds up until the river actually is higher than the surrounding land. The tendency to flood is exacerbated by ice dams which block the river in Mongolia; the dams back up the water, and then release devastating walls of water when they break.

The history of flooding has prompted the Communist Chinese government to embark on a program of building dams for flood control. The dams, however, have not proven entirely effective and have been the target of criticism from environmentalists.

2.
Huang He (Yellow) River, China
1887
Death Toll: 900,000 to 2,000,000

3.
Huang He (Yellow) River, China
1938
Death Toll: 500,000 – 900,000

The 1938 flood of the Huang He was caused by Nationalist Chinese troops under Chiang Kai-Shek when they broke the levees in an attempt to turn back advancing Japanese troops. The strategy was partly successful. By 1940, the Japanese were essentially in a stalemate with Chinese forces.

4.
Huang He (Yellow) River, China
1642
Death Toll: 300,000

Chinese rebels destroy the dikes along the city of Kaifeng, flooding the surrounding countryside.

5.
Ru River, Banqiao Dam, China
1975
Death Toll: 230,000

This flood was caused by the collapse of the Banquia Dam, along with several others, following a heavy rain caused by a typhoon. It is the worst dam related collapse in history.

6.
Yangtze River, China
1931
Death Toll: 145,000

Although the Huang He has caused more deaths, the Yangtze has had more than 1,000 recorded floods.

7.
The Netherlands and England
1099
Death Toll: 100,000

A combination of high tides and storms flooded the Thames and the Netherlands, killing 100,000.

8.
The Netherlands
1287
Death Toll: 50,000

A seawall on the Zuider Zee failed, flooding the low-lying polder.

9.
The Neva River, Russia
1824
Death Toll: 10,000

An ice dam clogged the Neva, flooding nearby cities.

10.
The Netherlands
1421
Death Toll: 10,000

The failure of a seawall on the Zuider Zee flooded the Dutch lowlands.

The Worst US Earthquakes By Death Toll

The Worst US Earthquakes
Deadliest US Earthquakes

As Measured By Death Toll

The United States’ Worst Earthquakes
As Measured By Death Toll

1.
The Great San Francisco Earthquake
April 18, 1906
Magnitude: 7.8
Death Toll: 3,000

The Great San Francisco Earthquake is by far the deadliest ever to hit the United States.

2.
Aleutian Islands, Alaska
April 1, 1946
Magnitude: 8.1
Death Toll: 165

Most of the deaths from this earthquake were in Hawaii, as the resulting tsumami killed 159. Five were killed in Alaska; 1 in California.

3.
The Good Friday Earthquake
Prince William Sound, Alaska
March 28, 1964
Magnitude: 9.2
Death Toll: 125

The strongest earthquake to ever hit the United States caused a tsunami that killed 98 in Alaska, 11 in California, and one in Oregon. Fifteen were killed in Alaska as a direct result of the quake. The effects of the quake were felt worldwide: several fishing boats were reported sunk off of Louisiana, and wells were seen sloshing water in South Africa.

4.
Long Beach, California
March 11, 1933
Magnitude: 6.3
Death Toll: 115

Poor building design led to the deaths of 115 as people were killed by falling debris as they ran out of buildings. The quake led to a mandate in California that scool buildings be earthquake resistant.

5.
Hawaii Island, Hawaii
April 3, 1868
Magnitude: 7.9
Death Toll: 77

Thirty one died from landslides; 46 from the resulting tsunami.

The World’s Deadliest Earthquakes

The World’s Worst Earthquakes

As measured by the death toll.

The worst earthquakes in history, in terms of the death toll have  occurred in China. In addition to lying along the earthquake prone “ring of fire”, China also has historically had a high population density. This virtually ensure that the highest earthquake casualties will be in China. It also is helpful that the Chinese have long had efficient bureaucracies, which were able to document the casualties as long ago as the 1500s.

1.

Shaanxi Province, China
January 23, 1556
Magnitude: approximately 8
Death Toll: 830,000

2.
Tangshan, China
July 28, 1976
Magnitude: 7.5
Death Toll: 242,000
The casualties in this may have been higher. The Chinese government is thought to have deliberately understated the numbers for political reasons.

3.
Aleppo, Syria
August 9, 1138
Magnitude: ?
Death Toll: 230,000

4.
Haiti
January 12, 2010
Magnitude: 7.0
Death Toll: 222,517

5.
Xining, China
May 22, 1927
Magnitude: 7.9
Death Toll: 200,000

6.
Damghan, Iran
December 22, 1856
Magnitude: unknown
Death Toll: 200,000

7.
Gansu, China
December 16, 1920
Magnitude: 8.6
Death Toll: 200,000

8.
Ardabil, Iran
March 23, 893
Magnitude: ?
Death Toll: 150,000

9.
Kwanto, Japan
September 1, 1923
Magnitude: 8.3
Death Toll 143,000

10.
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, USSR
October 5, 1948
Magnitude: 7.3
Death Toll: 110,000

11.
Messina, Italy
December 28, 1908
Magnitude: 7.2
Death Toll: 100,000