Natural disasters

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo

Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes are just some of the deadly hazards we are exposed to on Earth.

As well as being dangerous to humans, these events shape our planet and affect where and how we live. Volcanoes are thought to have played an important role in the emergence of life. They enrich soils, making the land around them good places to grow crops. Earthquakes signal the movement of Earth's tectonic plates, which build mountains (including volcanoes). Fault lines are often rich in minerals – for example, gold is found along the San Andreas Fault in California.

The pages in this section contain video clips from popular BBC television series such as Earth: Power of the Planet, 10 Things You Didn't Know About, and Horizon.

Image: Mount Pinatubo erupts in the Philippines in 1991 (credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Natural disasters

  • AvalanchesAvalanches

    Shouting cannot cause an avalanche.

  • EarthquakesEarthquakes

    Powerful quakes strike near the Earth's plate boundaries.

  • FloodsFloods

    Floods destroy homes, take lives and spread disease.

  • Forest firesForest fires

    Despite the damage they cause, small fires can be good for forests.

  • HurricanesHurricanes

    The 1970 Bangladesh cyclone is the most deadly in recorded history.

  • LandslidesLandslides

    There was a huge landslide when Mount St Helens erupted.

  • SupervolcanoesSupervolcanoes

    Humans have never witnessed a super-eruption.

  • TornadoesTornadoes

    Tornadoes form quickly and leave trails of destruction.

  • TsunamisTsunamis

    Earthquakes can create deadly ocean waves.

  • VolcanoesVolcanoes

    Eruptions cause widespread destruction and death but are vital for our survival.