The Slatest

This Week in Disasters: 18,000 Earthquakes

A volcano erupts and spews ash over a village
Mount Sinabung spews ash during its eruption, as seen from a village in North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Hendra Syamhari/Getty Images

Disasters are big to the people they affect, but amid all the headlines, they’re easy for others to miss. We’ve rounded up the chaos that caught our attention this week in our new weekly roundup, This Week in Disasters.

Water disaster: Heavy rainfall has engulfed parts of Kentucky since Monday, causing historic floods.

Ash disaster: An Indonesian volcano spewed over 16,000 feet of ash into the sky Tuesday, sprinkling some on surrounding villages.

Quake disasters: magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked central Greece on Wednesday, collapsing buildings and destroying houses. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean northeast of New Zealand on Thursday, putting New Zealand and Hawaii on tsunami watch.


Unprecedented disaster: Iceland was also hit by earthquakes—18,000 of themjust this week. Experts worry that this record-setting string of tremors may set off volcanoes in the area. (Remember Eyjafjallajökull?)


Fiery disaster: A 14-year-old girl in Louisiana was killed in an oil tank explosion on Sunday. Officials say the girl’s presence near the tanks right before the explosion “has been identified as a contributing factor in the case.”

Viral disaster: An explosion blasted windows off a Dutch COVID testing center Wednesday morning. No one was injured, and authorities suspect the blast was intentional.

Wartime disaster: Ten rockets struck an Iraqi airbase used by U.S. forces on Wednesday. An American civilian contractor died of a heart attack during the attack.


Human rights disaster: Burma saw its bloodiest week since the military coup on Feb. 1, with 38 civilians killed on Wednesday alone. The victims were primarily young protesters, shot by military forces.

Averted disasters: A World War II-era bomb, discovered in the U.K., blew up in a controlled detonation Saturday.

Ancient disaster: Archaeologists on February 27th that they unearthed the “Lamborghini of chariots” from the ruins of Pompeii.

Ratings disaster: Viewership of Sunday’s Golden Globes tumbled to an all-time low.

Royal disasterTeasers of Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview roiled Buckingham Palace, amplifying familial tensions throughout the week. (We loved this one so much we wrote about it.)