23 February 2011

Archival Gold: National Geophysical Data Center Natural Hazard Images

Posted by Jessica Ball

I considered doing a post about the recent earthquake in New Zealand, but my fellow geobloggers are doing an excellent job of covering the scientific and human sides of the story, and anything I add would just be repeating them. My lack of coverage is mainly for that reason, and not for any lack of empathy for the people of Christchurch. This, like any natural disaster, is a heartwrenching event to watch from a distance. If you want to help and your finances allow, please consider donating to the New Zealand Red Cross; you can specify “New Zealand Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Appeal” in your donation to make sure the funds go to the response to the  earthquake.

The media focus on this natural disaster put me in mind of a resource that I turn to for photos of events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and landslides. The National Geophysical Data Center’s Natural Hazards Images website is a repository for a number of fantastic slidesets of these natural phenomena, and some of the slides are pretty famous images. They’re all available as high-resolution TIFF files, and each image comes with a detailed caption relating its subject to a natural process or hazard. The images are collected from government organisations such as NOAA and the USGS, as well as universities and press organizations.

Hanning Bay fault scarp on southwest Montague Island in Prince William Sound, following the 1964 Alaska Earthquake. Photo Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA via the NGDC

1944 night view of the Parícutin cinder cone volcano, central Mexico. Photo credit: R.E. Wilcox, U.S. Geological Survey via the NGDC

La Conchita, California landslide and debris flow, spring 1995. Photo credit: R.L. Schuster, U.S. Geological Survey via the NGDC

A railroad offset by the Motagua fault in Guatemala, following the M7.5 earthquake of February 4, 1976. Photo credit: U. S. Geological Survey via the NGDC