American alligatorMarch 11, 1864: A wall of water kills at least 250 people in the industrial city of Sheffield, England, after the brand-new Dale Dyke Dam gives way.

March 11, 1888: A massive blizzard set its sights on the northeastern U.S., paralyzing New York City and dropping more than two feet of snow on much of New England.

March 11, 1967: After years of overhunting and damage from habitat destruction, the American alligator (at right) is declared an endangered species. The gator makes a strong recovery and is de-listed in 1987.

March 11, 2011: One of the strongest earthquakes in history strikes offshore of Japan's largest island, Honshu. The quake causes massive damage along the coastline – somewhat lessened by Japan's superb preparations and building codes. But no amount of planning could halt tsunami waves of thirty feet or more, which claim thousands of lives, obliterate coastal towns, and cause one of the world's biggest nuclear crises at the swamped Fukushima Dai-Ichii plant north of Tokyo.

Photo: http2007/Flickr

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.

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