This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cyclone Tracy and "Santa Never Made it into Darwin"

Source unknown
The current floods in Queensland, Australia, are another in the extremes of fire and water that hit Australia (earlier post here). Cyclone Tracy struck Darwin, Australia, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 1974.  It killed 71 people, destroyed over 70% of the buildings in Darwin, left another 20,000-25,000 people homeless, and caused over $800 Australian 1974 dollars damage. It spurred a priority to develop cyclone-proof buildings. Many of the survivors were evacuated to other towns and never returned to Darwin. The storm was an unusually compact cyclone, with gale-force winds extending less than 50 km from the center; the graphic on the right shows the relative sizes of Tracy (look hard for the small dot in the middle of Texas, right above the T in Tropical) and Super Typhoon Tip.  There's a good Wiki article on Cyclone Tracy here, so I'll not repeat the info.
Relative typhoon sizes.  Public domain, NOAA.

The event was so traumatic for Australians that it made it into the popular media.  Here's a link to a song describing the effects, sung by Bill (Cate) and Boyd (Robinson). It was a fund-raiser for the reconstruction effort.  Sometimes a scientific explanation can't compete!

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