Free «Two of the Most Significant 20th Century Natural Disasters» Essay Sample

The 20th century was a prolific period for technological and science discoveries. It was however a time when natural disasters have affected many countries all around the world. Although not all these tragedies ended up in causing numerous casualties, even losing the life of one citizen is cause for mourning. These being said, I have chosen to create a comparison between two of the most significant natural disasters of the 20th century, by depicting the similarities and differences between the two of them. To my mind, the 1900 Great Storm that affected Galveston, Texas and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire and notably the most noteworthy disasters of the 20th century, and they have many aspects in common, as well as differences.

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            The 1900 Great Storm has started to form on August 27 and hit Galveston on September 8, when the estimated wind speed was of 145 mph. it caused great loss of public property and life, as authorities have estimated the death of 8000 people, and damage of $20 million. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake took place on April 18 and had a magnitude of 7.9 MW.  The estimated death toll of the incident was up to 3500 deaths, most of them occurring in the subsequent fires rather than the earthquake itself. I find it important to discuss the manner in which the disasters have occurred, the primary and secondary causes of death as well as the how the victims of these tragedies are now remembered.

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            There are several similarities between these two important natural disasters of the 20th century. What is probably most important is the fact that they both have happened due to natural unbalances. The Great Storm was actually a hurricane that formed on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the Earthquake was caused by the movement of the Pacific Tectonic Plate and the North American Tectonic Plate in opposite directions. Although both incidents had a great impact on the areas they affected, they were not the primary cause of death. Most of the people who died in the hurricane did so because of the consequent floods. As for the earthquake, the massive forces of the tectonic plates have resulted in the rupturing of gas lines and falling of candles and oil lamps, which lead to powerful fires. (Niderost)

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            As Bixel and Turner say in their book, the year 1900 and a few more after were very hard for the population of Texas. Although they managed to get help from other countries in order to rehabilitate their lives, the tragedy was forever present on their minds. They say that the Galvestonians have completed a Texas Heroes Monument to always remember the people who died in this tragic natural disaster. (Bixel and Turner) On the other hand, the people of San Francisco only commemorate the disaster annually by gathering and discussing the tragedy.

            To conclude, I must say that both of the natural disasters are absolutely impressive and tragic for the areas they took place in. Although there are a few differences, they are both brought together by the fact that lives were lost in the moments of the tragedies and this is the strongest link between them. I have to say that I believe the 1900 Great Storm to be of bigger importance, both due to the life loss and the fact that people have struggled to remember their loved ones by building monuments for those who died. I think that this is a memorable and patriotic act.


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