View photos of some of the worst natural disasters in 2011.
In March, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan and triggered a tsunami. At the Sendai Airport in Natori, Miyagi, Japan, the tsunami washed debris inland, including a private plane. The quake was also responsible for destabilizing a power plant in the region.
Emergency crews battle one of the most destructive wildfires in Texas history. The fire claimed 2 lives, destroyed 1500 homes, burned more than 45 square miles around Bastrop and created a smoky haze over Austin, 25 miles to the west.
A tornado rips through a neighborhood in Joplin, MO, killing more than 120 people on May 25, 2011, making it the United States’ single deadliest tornado in 60 years.
A massive Arizona wildfire spread over 400,000 acres of land, including a portion of the Coronado National Forest. The fire destroyed 29 homes, and at one point, 10, 000 people were evacuated from the area.
A car is half submerged in water and thick mud after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake strike Christchurch, New Zealand, on June 13, 2011.
After lying dormant for more than 50 years, Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted in June. Thick ash covered homes and this restaurant. Thousands of residents were evacuated.
A 5.9 earthquake shook the East Coast of the United States on August 23, 2011, causing damage to the Washington National Cathedral, in the nation’s capital. Although the epicenter was located near Mineral, VA, residents in southern Ontario, Canada felt the quake.
Hurricane Irene’s powerful 85-mph winds cause major damage in the Caribbean and on the East Coast, including North Carolina, where several roads were completely washed away, stranding travelers.
A 7.1 magnitude earthquake wreaks havoc in Van, Turkey on October 30, 2011. More than 600 people were killed and at least 11,232 buildings sustained some damage. On November 9, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Van again, causing 40 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
Tropical Storm Lee hits the US Gulf Coast on September 1, 2011, causing major storms and heavy rainfall in south Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. Rains caused significant flooding and damage in these areas.
A major dust storm sweeps through the southern portion of the southwest Arizona, including Phoenix, on July 5, 2011. Triggered by thunderstorms and high winds, the storm causes flight delays and sparks numerous reports of power outages.
In July, floods strike Thailand, killing nearly 400 people and disrupts the lives of more the 2 million people. This photo, taken in November, shows residents using boats, make-shift rafts or traveling by foot, through flood waters in northern Bangkok.
A few unexplained events happened this year, including thousands of blackbirds that fell out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. Stress from New Year's Eve fireworks may have caused the deaths of up to 5,000 birds.