Man made disasters are those that are caused by the negligence of man. They are not acts of God. They are not caused by the weather. These are six of the most disastrous events brought about by the mistakes of normal human beings. They aren’t the only ones, but each of them will stand out in your memory once you’ve read about them.
1. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
There have been numerous oil spills around the world, but one of the ones many people remember vividly from news reports and damage reports is the Exxon Valdez oil spill that happened in 1989. What made this so tragic was the pure negligence that caused the spill. The guy driving the oil tanker was tired, and there wasn’t enough crew on board. The tanker crashed into the shore, off Long Beach, California.
It is estimated that around 119 thousand cubic meters of crude oil were spilled before anything was done about it. The tanker sat for days leaking oil into the ocean. 2,100 kilometers of coastline was covered in oil, killing wildlife. Images of oil-slicked marine birds are etched in the memories of people that watched this disaster.
2. The Chernobyl Disaster
It’s been turned into a horror movie, where some adventurous kids spend the night in Chernobyl/Pripyat only to find sinister things afoot in the abandoned town. What’s more sinister is what actually happened there. Chernobyl was a nuclear power plant, located near Pripyat, Ukraine. In 1986 there was an explosion at the plant which caused radioactive materials to be let loose into the air.
This wasn’t an isolated event, as winds carried the radioactive cloud over Russia and Europe. Poor management was faulted for this major disaster that left Pripyat contaminated (possibly still). While only 31 people died in the actual event, many have died in the years since then due to radiation sickness.
3. The Centralia Fire
Centralia is located in Pennsylvania, though the borough is now nearly a complete ghost town. What happened here is a frightening story that continues to this day. The nightmare of Centralia has been captured in the video game, and movies, named Silent Hill (although they turned an already nightmarish tale into a horror story of much larger proportions).
What really happened here is that in 1962 the annual landfill burning never stopped burning. Some firefighters set the dump on fire, and it seems they may not have completely put it out at the end of the day. The fire spread into the abandoned coal mines beneath, setting a blaze that is still burning today. According to some reports, the fire could burn for a total of 250 years with the amount of coal to keep it going.
4. Killer Fog Of London
Not all of London’s fog has been natural. In 1952 the air pollution in London got so out of hand that it started to kill people, with the fog. Is this what Stephen King based his story on?
What made this fog so deadly? It was a cold winter in London, and people wanted to stay warm. In this time in history, most people were getting heat from coal, and residents were burning it in their fireplaces to warm up their homes. That smoke, which was filled with nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and soot, encased the town. The cloud of fog darkened the city and killed 12,000 people.
5. Three Mile Island
Three Mile Island is another nuclear disaster that happened closer to home for Americans. Located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Three Mile Island was a nuclear reactor that had a major meltdown in 1979. It was this accident that lead to changes in the way nuclear power was handled.
While some reports claim that there was no effect on workers in the plant, or people in the surrounding town, there are still stories floating around out there about the gas cloud released by the meltdown causing death in livestock and even future congenital disabilities in people. While this man made disaster didn’t have a death toll it did have a huge effect on the town and the United States, making it worth a mention.
6. Castle Bravo
A far bigger disaster came from the hydrogen bomb testing codenamed Castle Bravo. For the first time, the United States would test a dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb, and it turned out to be a radiological disaster.
At Bikini Atoll in Marshall Islands, the U.S. ignited the bomb in 1954. This powerful device accidentally caused a major radiological contamination event. While there was no death toll, the fallout from this event caused allergic reactions in some people and wiped out some species of coral.
Other Man Made Disasters Of The World
Both frightening and fascinating, these stories are the things that should really scare you. These are the real horror stories, the ones that are true. If this article intrigued you, spend some time looking into the other oil spills, and even the mistakes made while testing nuclear weaponry, and many other man made disasters in the world.