Dennis Hopper in WaterworldJuly 28, 1977: The first oil from Alaska's North Slope reaches the Valdez Marine Terminal 800 miles away via the newly completed Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Valdez would become an oil-shipment boom town, as well as the site of a catastrophic oil spill in 1989.

July 28, 1976: A magnitude-7.5 earthquake devastates the Chinese city of Tangshan, east of Beijing. An estimated quarter-million people lose their lives.

July 28, 1995: The feature film "Waterworld" is released. Kevin Costner is a future-day mutant hero with webbed toes and gills who fights for survival on an Earth swamped by sea level rise. Dennis Hopper (at right) plays "The Deacon," head of a pirate band who torments Earth's survivors from their base aboard the rusting Exxon Valdez. Yes, the movie is every bit as bad as it sounds. "Waterworld" takes a beating from critics and at the box office.

Photo: StillPhoto Collection/SUNSHINE/ZUMA Press

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