NOVA Natural Disasters Video Series

Grades 4+   

Natural disasters strike with little or no warning - making them uniquely frightening and fascinating. No one knows when the ground will shake again beneath us, or where an ominous black funnel will rise up next. As for volcanoes, predicting a deadly eruption is a nerve-wracking process at best--and a wrong call can be catastrophic. Still, scientists continue to search for ways to guard us against nature's fury.

The Day the Earth Shook:
On January 17, 1994, Northridge, California, was jolted by an earthquake leaving 57 dead. Exactly one year later, a devastating quake ripped apart Kobe, Japan, killing 5,400--the country's worst disaster since World War II. Seismologists say a similar fate could await Los Angeles or San Francisco--unless steps are taken to minimize such a loss. Watch horrifying scenes from the two earthquakes--then learn how new rescue and warning technology could protect us if it's put into place in time.

Follow a "chase team" using the latest tracking techniques to move closer to these terrifying targets - which occur in this country at the alarming rate of 1,000 a year. With spectacular footage, NOVA examines the worst day in tornado history, when 148 different twisters touched down across the South and the Ohio Valley--killing 315 people and causing $600 million in damage.

In the Path of a Killer Volcano:
In 1991 Mount Pinatubo was threatening a violent explosion that could send hot avalanches roaring down its sides at 100 miles per hour, burning everything in its path. Was it time to issue a Level 4 alert--ordering hundreds of thousands to flee their homes? Be on the scene with the courageous scientists who stay behind--and see what happens when the world's largest eruption in 80 years really starts to blow.

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