Top 10 Naturalistic Risks to U.S.
(Top Posts - Science - 032607, updated 032609)

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Well, for those who accept that naturalism
best explains existence in both a rewarding
-and- risky environment, the following details
some of the most pronounced naturalistic
risks to the United States of America.

Excluded from this list, risks due to hostile
acts by humans, risks like mass murder by
terrorists, nuclear war, biological war, and
the like.

Implied by this list, for religionists which
includes believers among the roughly 50%
of the U.S. who attend religious services
on any given Sunday -and- 90% or so of
the U.S. who claim to believe that some
magic being or beings is the master con-
troller at the helm, for better -or- worse:

o God taking no part in the disaster, as if
   it doesn't exist or doesn't care or is power-
   less or is anti-human or is evil

o God actively implementing the disaster,
   in which case it would be difficult to make
   a case that it's benevolent or pro-human,
   but easy to make a case that if it exists,
   it's either uncaring, or powerless, or anti-
   human, or evil

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[inserts, not part of original articles,
included in brackets]

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Natural Disasters: Top 10 U.S. Threats
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Government officials are evaluating and revising
disaster plans around the United States in the
wake of Hurricane Katrina, just as they did after
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While war and
automobiles kill more people than nature, find
out what natural disasters top scientists' worry

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10. Pacific Northwest Megathrust Earthquake

Geologists know it’s just a matter of time
before another 9.0 or larger earthquake
strikes somewhere between Northern
California and Canada. The shaking would
be locally catastrophic, but the biggest
threat is the tsunami that would ensue from
a fault line that’s seismically identical to the
one that caused the deadly 2004 tsunami
in Indonesia.

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9. New York Hurricane

Major hurricanes have made direct hits on
the boroughs before, but the interval between
them is so long that people forget, and offi-
cials fear they might not take evacuation
orders seriously. The larger problem: It would
take nearly 24 hours to make a proper evacu-
ation of New York City, but hurricanes move
more swiftly as they race north, so real warn-
ing time could be just a few hours.

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8. Asteroid Impact

Scientists can’t say when the next devastating
asteroid impact will occur. Odds are it won’t
be for decades or centuries, but an unknown
space rock could make a sucker punch any
time. Many experts say planning to deal with
a continent-wide catastrophe should begin

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7. Los Angeles Tsunami

An earthquake fault just off Southern California
could generate a major quake and a $42 billion
tsunami that would strike so fast many coastal
residents would not have time to escape. Add
to that the unprecedented destruction from the
earthquake’s shaking, and the situation would
be reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina.

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6. Supervolcano

It probably won’t happen for hundreds or pos-
sibly even millions of years, but nobody really
knows when Yellowstone will blow again, des-
troying life for hundreds of miles around and
burying half the country in ash up to 3 feet ...

[of note, any supervolcano eruption on
the planet would pose a worldwide threat
of annihilation due to the nuclear winter
that would result in years of difficulty in
any human survival; the Toba super-
eruption about 74,000 years ago came
perilously close to causing the extinction
of homo sapiens]

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5. Midwest Earthquake

It has been nearly two centuries since a series
of three magnitude-8 quakes shook the then-
sparsely populated Midwest, centered near
New Madrid, Missouri. Another big one is inevit-
able. Now the region is heavily populated, yet
building codes are generally not up to earth-
quake snuff. What’s more, geology east of the
Rockies causes quakes to be felt across a
much wider region. Shelves would rattle from
Boston to South Carolina. Some homes along
the Mississippi would sink into oblivion.

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4. Heat Waves

Heat waves kill more U.S. residents than any
other natural disaster. As many as 10,000
people have died in past events. As urban
areas get hotter, electricity systems are
strained and the population ages, the risk

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3. East Coast Tsunami

It seems no coast is immune to the threat of
tsunami. For the Eastern United States, the
likeliest scenario is waves kicked up by an
asteroid splashing into the ocean. Astrono-
mers already have their eye on one rock that
could hit in the distant future, but the cosmos
could hold a surprise, too.

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2. Gulf Coast Tsunami

A fault line in the Caribbean has generated
deadly tsunamis before. Up to 35 million
people could be threatened by one in the
not-to-distant future, scientists say.

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1. Total Destruction of Earth

Okay, so nobody is spending too much time
worrying about what to do if the planet is anni-
hilated, but at least one person has seriously
pondered whether and when it could happen.
From being sucked into a black hole to being
blown up by an antimatter reaction, there are
scientifically plausible risks of an event that
would render this whole list moot.

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