Photographs and Images

Below are some of the more useful, comprehensive sources of visual images of hazards and disasters on the Internet. This is a list of archived images, not real-time information, such as current hurricane satellite photographs. If you know of other archives of disaster images, please e-mail information to the Natural Hazards Center at

All Hazards
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) photograph and image collection now comprises approximately 10,000 digitized images offered online to help anyone interested in studying the natural world. The "photolibrary" page includes a search facility for locating appropriate pictures (for example, try entering "disasters" and see the many images available regarding meteorological hazards).
The mission of NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) is to "provide and ensure timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect, and enhance the nation’s economy, security, environment, and quality of life. To fulfill its responsibilities NESDIS acquires and manages the Nation’s operational environmental satellites, provides data and information services, and conducts related research." This site provides a gateway to satellite images of all kinds - including those covering such natural hazards as hurricanes and flooding.
The many nooks and crannies of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) Web site offer thousands of images of natural hazard phenomena.
The many U.S. Geological Survey Web servers house thousands of images of hazards and disasters. Try using the search engine on the first page of this site to find photographs of the type of event you areinterested in.
Visible Earth is a searchable directory, produced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), of high tech images, visualizations, and animations of the Earth. The directory is intended to provide a consistently updated central catalog of earth-science- related visualizations and images. Its goal is to aid the public, as well as the media, scientists, and educators. The Visible Earth includes images depicting earthquake dynamics, earthquake occurrences, earthquake predictions, and seismic profiles. Additional categories include continental tectonics, crustal motion, and faults.

The National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, houses several collections of photographs, slides, and on-line digital images, including the EQIIS Image Database of over 10,000 on-line photos. The database features the Steinbrugge Slide and Photograph Collection and more recent earthquake damage photos from Loma Prieta, Northridge, Kobe, and Izmit.
The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute also publishes online reports from reconnaissance teams sent to recent quakes and most include images of those disasters. The institute also sells numerous slide sets and videotapes, and samples from the sets are available on-line in the publications section of the Web site.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Volcano Hazards Program Page includes a "Photoglossary" that lists dozens of volcanological terms - click on one and receive a photo and explanation of that phenomenon. This site also links to individual USGS Volcano Observatory sites in Hawaii, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest, each of which provides images of recent and historic eruptions.
The Dartmouth College Electronic Volcano Page incorporates a section on "Visual Information" at the second URL above that presents photo, radar, videotape, and other images of active volcanoes. It covers both specific volcanoes and volcanic phenomena generally.
The University of North Dakota's Volcano World site offers images and maps of many of the world's volcanoes.

Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Thunderstorms, High Wind, Lightning, Drought, El Nino, and Other Meteorological Extremes
Various parts of the National Weather Service Web site offer weather images (use the search engine at the first URL to locate the many sites).
Nobody has more twister photographs than the Tornado Project - a private enterprise in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Their catalogs and videos of U.S. tornadoes are exhaustive, and various sections of the project's Web site offer good illustrations of both tornado damage and tornadoes themselves.
As mentioned above, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) Web site offers thousands of images of meteorological, hydrological, and climate-related hazards. We suggest using the search engine listed above to locate the images you desire (for example, enter "photos" or "photos" and "flood").
The American Association of Wind Engineers site provides a link via the second URL to various collections of photos of wind damage.
The Web site of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, includes images and links to images of drought impacts.