Australia in Asia and the Pacific (TASC Level 3)

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Natural Disasters and Weather

Natural disasters can also be known as "acts of God" because they can strike with little or no warning and without any human involvement.

Types of Disasters
Library Resources

Types of Disasters

Natural disasters can kill many thousands of people each year. They roughly fall into three broad groupings:

  • geological events, triggered by the internal workings of our planet;
  • meteorological events, caused by variations in global weather patterns;
  • and biological disasters, resulting from the actions of living agents such as diseases or insect pests.

These disasters can occur separately or together, and are generally, although not always, unrelated.

Coenraads, R, edt, 2008, Natural disasters and how we cope, The Five Mile Press, Rowville, Vic.

This subject guide looks at the following topics:

  • Land: Bushfires, drought, earthquakes, landslides, plate tectonics or volcanoes
  • Weather: Cyclones and hurricanes
  • Water: Tsunamis, floods and storms

Library Resources

On the shelves

Other general resources which may contain the information you are looking for can be found by using the Library catalogue:


Issues in Society Digital Editions

Reference Resources

General Encyclopedia

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • World Book Encyclopedia



'As old as the hills', 'as solid as rock', are just two of the phrases we use to express the permanence of the world around us. Some of our highest mountains, however, are among the most recent features of the landscape.  They have developed and grown because of movements within the earth itself, movements that can crumble rocks and create new ones, and that can displace the very waters of the oceans themselves.  Most of these movements are apparent only over the millennia, but sometimes they happen with great suddenness in a particular place, and when they do, their effect on the human beings that live there can be disastrous. 

Dixon, Dougal 1996, 'Land and sea on the move', Natural disasters, Reader's Digest, pp. 13

On the shelves

On the shelves: Personal narratives



Issues in Society

Web Resources

Bushfires / Wildfires - Australia

Bushfires / Wildfires - International


Drought - Australia

Drought - International


Earthquakes - Australia

Earthquakes - International





New Zealand

Solomon Islands

South America


Landslides - Australia

Landslides - International


General facts and information




The atmosphere is in constant turmoil.  On a global scale, it acts as a giant heat exchange, in which the hot air in the tropics rises and moves towards the poles, while cooler heavier air rushes in to take its place.  Averaged out over the years, these movements form the conditions we call climates.  Day-day-day variations in these climatic patterns produce what is known as weather.  These variations can be extreme, including hurricanes that cut across the sea - and sometimes the land as well - and deadly tornadoes, which are narrow funnels of extreme low pressure and extraordinary destructiveness.

Dixon, Dougal 1996, 'The Restless air', Natural disasters', Reader's Digest, p. 86

On the shelves

Web Resources

Cyclones - Australia

Cyclones - International

Hurricanes - International

Typhoons - International



Flood.  Heavy storms may sometimes cause huge volumes of water to depart from a river's natural course and spread over previously dry land.  Unstoppable and all-pervasive, the resulting floods can be devastating to human life.

Dixon, Dougal 1996, 'Flood alert', Natural disasters, Reader's Digest, p.110

Tsunami. Imagine a flood of water swirling up the street, lifting cars and flinging them through flimsy buildings as it goes.  Then imagine the buildings themselves being washed away, leaving behind little more than scattered piles of rubble.

Dixon, Dougal 1996, 'Tsunami: wave of terror', Natural disasters', Reader's Digest, p. 52

On the shelves

Subject Headings

On the shelves: Personal narratives

On the shelves: Writers responses

Web Resources

Floods - Australia

Floods - Launceston

Floods - International

Tsunami - Australia:

Tsunami - International: