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Earth Panorama: Rainbow Warrior memorial, Matauri Bay, Northland, New Zealand.

This somber but beautiful memorial overlooks Matauri Bay, in the northernmost island of New Zealand. The propeller belonged to a ship called the Rainbow Warrior, which was deliberately sunk by French … Continue reading

April 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

The sky rained ashes: the eruption of Mt. Huaynaputina.

On this day, 414 years ago, the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history in the Western hemisphere occurred at Huaynaputina, in the Andes, in Peru. For several days before the eruption … Continue reading

February 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Nor’easter from Hell: the great blizzard of 1978.

It happens to be snowing where I am as I write this. Perhaps it’s snowing where you are too–much of the U.S. is supposed to get snow this weekend. But, … Continue reading

February 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

Winter fun of a vanished age: the Frost Fair of 1814.

Exactly 200 years ago today, on February 5, 1814, something wondrous, fascinating and fun happened for the very last time on planet Earth. On that day the Frost Fair on … Continue reading

February 5, 2014 · 1 Comment

Historical photo: an American Indian ice-cutting crew in winter.

This is an interesting historical photo I came across, and appropriate for a day like today in which much of the U.S. is gripped by the extremes of winter. In … Continue reading

January 29, 2014 · 4 Comments

Céide Fields: Ireland’s vanished Stone Age forest paradise.

This article is part of the Irish History Week series. About 80 years ago, in the village of Belderrig in County Mayo in western Ireland, a man named Patrick Caulfield … Continue reading

January 19, 2014 · 2 Comments

The fire off Whiddy Island: the Betelgeuse disaster.

The waters off Whiddy Island, a 3-mile long strip of green nestled in Bantry Bay in the county of Cork, Ireland, are deep and calm. The surrounding area is sparsely-populated, … Continue reading

January 8, 2014 · Leave a comment

The mysterious “National Hotel disease”: environmental disaster or assassination attempt?

About this time of year more than 150 years ago, in early January 1857, guests and political dignitaries began to descend upon Washington, D.C. in anticipation of the inauguration of … Continue reading

January 5, 2014 · 2 Comments

Destroying Hawaii to save it: the Honolulu plague fire of 1900.

A small group of islands with a large, densely-packed population, and which is a crossroads for international travel, is at very high risk of catastrophic disease. Hawaii is such a … Continue reading

December 6, 2013 · 2 Comments

Death in the wind: the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940.

Seventy-three years ago today, on November 11, 1940, the U.S. upper Midwest suffered one of the very worst blizzards in its history–and a very unique and unusual environmental catastrophe. It’s … Continue reading

November 11, 2013 · Leave a comment
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