Earth and environment

The Asian tsunami of 2004 took thousands upon thousands of lives. It was a natural disaster of epic proportions. Like all tsunamis, it came with little warning. Most of us believe that a tsunami on this scale couldn't hit Europe - are we wrong? In 1607 Britain experienced one of its greatest natural disasters. An enormous flood engulfed Somerset and Monmouthshire, taking a huge number of lives and reducing thousands more to poverty. Traditionally scientists had regarded this forgotten tragedy as a freak storm surge. But in a 2003 Timewatch Professor Simon Haslett and Professor Ted Bryant challenged this view - gathering evidence to suggest that 1607 was in fact a British Tsunami. But the story doesn't end there: inspired by what they had discovered about 1607, Simon and Ted decided to delve deeper into the archives. They believe they have emerged with evidence for at least four more British Tsunami. Simon and Ted's work remains highly controversial. After the Tsunami of 2004 the British government commissioned a report which concluded that risk of tsunami in Britain is small. To weigh up the evidence, historical cartographer Vanessa Collingridge will be joining Simon and Ted on their journey. Vanessa's quest is to find out for herself whether she believes Simon and Ted are right - and to discover if the risk of Tsunami to Europe is bigger than most of us think. Timewatch will join Simon, Ted and Vanessa as they gather evidence for possible tsunami from 1014 to 1929. While she does this, with the help of Natural Hazard's expert Prof Bill McGuire, Vanessa will also explore how and why tsunami are created - and why they can be such an extraordinarily destructive force.

Forgotten Floods

Earth and environment, Personal and social capability

Years 7-8, 9-10 Earth and environment, Personal and social capability
49:12
The Asian tsunami of 2004 took thousands upon thousands of lives. It was a natural disaster of epic proportions. Like all tsunamis, it came with little warning. Most of us believe that a tsunami on this scale couldn't hit Europe - are we wrong? In 1607 Britain experienced one of its greatest natural disasters. An enormous flood engulfed Somerset and Monmouthshire, taking a huge number of lives and reducing thousands more to poverty. Traditionally scientists had regarded this forgotten tragedy as a freak storm surge. But in a 2003 Timewatch Professor Simon Haslett and Professor Ted Bryant challenged this view - gathering evidence to suggest that 1607 was in fact a British Tsunami. But the story doesn't end there: inspired by what they had discovered about 1607, Simon and Ted decided to delve deeper into the archives. They believe they have emerged with evidence for at least four more British Tsunami. Simon and Ted's work remains highly controversial. After the Tsunami of 2004 the British government commissioned a report which concluded that risk of tsunami in Britain is small. To weigh up the evidence, historical cartographer Vanessa Collingridge will be joining Simon and Ted on their journey. Vanessa's quest is to find out for herself whether she believes Simon and Ted are right - and to discover if the risk of Tsunami to Europe is bigger than most of us think. Timewatch will join Simon, Ted and Vanessa as they gather evidence for possible tsunami from 1014 to 1929. While she does this, with the help of Natural Hazard's expert Prof Bill McGuire, Vanessa will also explore how and why tsunami are created - and why they can be such an extraordinarily destructive force.
In June 1783, on the Volcanic island of Iceland, a 17-milewide split appeared in the ground, triggering a disaster of gigantic proportions. Within one week more lava would pour onto the earths surface than from any other eruption in recorded history, instantly smothering all life in its path. The real problem however, was the deadly cloud of volcanic gases that had begun to accumulate; over eight months, more that 122 million tons of sulphur dioxide would spew out of the massive fissure, bringing death to hundreds of thousands of people across Europe. The Killer cloud wiped out more than a quarter of Iceland's population and three quarters of it's life stock, before it drifted across the North Atlantic to Britain, bringing prolonged devastation and suffering. Europe was smothered by a sulphurous, dry smog and in England, an uncommon gloom descended. The bizarre blue fog hovered for weeks. Crops withered, leaves were bleached and vegetation died. Millions of people were struck down with severe and often fatal bronchitis and asthma, while others suffered blinding headaches and partial loss of sight. The fallout was catastrophic and long lasting. Water and food supplies became contaminated. The toxic gases altered weather patterns, causing massive crop failure and the greatest famine in Iceland's history. Across Europe, death rates soared. That summer was the hottest ever recorded, whilst the following winter was the coldest. No other eruption before or since has caused such dramatic climate changes. The testimonies of those that lived and died during this massive natural disaster survives, in the form of diaries, letters and eye witness accounts., that offer us a unique insite into its effects on contemporary life.

The Killer Cloud

Earth and environment, Science, Geography, Sustainability

Years 7-8, 9-10 Earth and environment, Science, Geography, Sustainability
48:17
In June 1783, on the Volcanic island of Iceland, a 17-milewide split appeared in the ground, triggering a disaster of gigantic proportions. Within one week more lava would pour onto the earths surface than from any other eruption in recorded history, instantly smothering all life in its path. The real problem however, was the deadly cloud of volcanic gases that had begun to accumulate; over eight months, more that 122 million tons of sulphur dioxide would spew out of the massive fissure, bringing death to hundreds of thousands of people across Europe. The Killer cloud wiped out more than a quarter of Iceland's population and three quarters of it's life stock, before it drifted across the North Atlantic to Britain, bringing prolonged devastation and suffering. Europe was smothered by a sulphurous, dry smog and in England, an uncommon gloom descended. The bizarre blue fog hovered for weeks. Crops withered, leaves were bleached and vegetation died. Millions of people were struck down with severe and often fatal bronchitis and asthma, while others suffered blinding headaches and partial loss of sight. The fallout was catastrophic and long lasting. Water and food supplies became contaminated. The toxic gases altered weather patterns, causing massive crop failure and the greatest famine in Iceland's history. Across Europe, death rates soared. That summer was the hottest ever recorded, whilst the following winter was the coldest. No other eruption before or since has caused such dramatic climate changes. The testimonies of those that lived and died during this massive natural disaster survives, in the form of diaries, letters and eye witness accounts., that offer us a unique insite into its effects on contemporary life.
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