Natural Disasters Caused By Human Error


Natural disasters are usually caused, or avoided, by naturally occurring processes of the Earth. However, sometimes humans intervene with those processes which leads to nature revolting. Here are 3 natural disasters caused by human error.

The Whirlpool at Lake Peigneur

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In 1980, a Texaco oil rig was drilling at Lake Peigneur in Louisiana. The lake sits on top of a salt mine, and is only about 6 feet deep. Unfortunately, the drillers were careless and drilled right into the salt mine. The hole was only small at first, but because of the large deposits of salt, the hole drew quickly and created a whirlpool. It sucked in the drilling platform, several barges (pictured), and about 65 acres of land. Luckily, no one was killed. Texaco was forced to pay $40 million due to the disaster they caused.

The Boston Molasses Disaster

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In 1919, in Boston, a construction worker named Arthur Jell decided to build a molasses storage tank in the North End of the city. Unfortunately, he was careless in his work and there were cracks in the tanks. In order to cover his work, locals tried to cover up the cracks with shades of brown paint. Unfortunately, their negligence led to disaster. January of 1919 was unseasonably warm and caused the fermentation process in the tank to speed up. The built up carbon monoxide caused the cracks to expand and eventually the tank to explode. The molasses became a 15-foot tidal wave and destroyed everything in its path. The police, military, and Red Cross had to join in the rescue effort. Sadly, there was 21 deaths, multiple injuries, and 87,000 hours of clean-up.

Mining Mudslide in Wales

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The National Coal Board in Wales thought they had discovered a brilliant idea, when they began depositing various rocks and mining debris on the side of Merthyr Mountain, near the small village of Aberfan. This practice was continued for several decades, even though locals voiced their concerns. In October 1966, heavy rains mixed with the debris and caused a huge mudslide. The first pile collided with a second pile lower on the mountain. Now at full force, the mudslide headed for the town of Aberfan. The mudslide killed 144 people, 116 of which were children. The National Coal Board was found responsible but was only ordered to pay 500 pounds for every child lost. Not other reprimands were made against the company.