Press Release
June 30, 2008

Natural Disasters on DVD from the National Archives

Natural Disasters, the first collection in a new series of boxed DVD sets entitled Our Planet Earth.

Washington, DC…The National Archives announces the release of Natural Disasters, the first collection in a new series of boxed DVD sets entitled Our Planet Earth. Produced in partnership with Topics Entertainment, Our Planet Earth will focus on the preservation and conservation of our natural resources and the protection of our environment. The series will feature motion pictures created by the Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Selected by film archivists from the National Archives vast motion picture holdings, Natural Disasters chronicles some of the world’s most devastating earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, and volcanoes—random acts of nature that have altered the world’s economy, threatened and disrupted millions of earth’s inhabitants, cost thousands of human lives, and at times changed the course of history. Also recounted are the heroic efforts of relief workers to return cities to normal and the attempts of local governments to better prepare for future events.

Included among the gripping documentaries are:

  • Loma Prieta Earthquake (1989), an examination of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake that destroyed the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Cypress Street Viaduct and disrupted the World Series.

  • Day of the Killer Tornadoes (1978), the story of 147 deadly tornadoes that swept across Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, and other states in a 24-hour period.

  • A Hurricane Called Betsy (1966), which recounts Hurricane Betsy’s 3,000-mile trip from the Caribbean through the Bahamas, Miami, the Florida Keys, and along the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

  • Eruption of Mt. St. Helens (1980–81), featuring reenactments, personal recollections, and narration of the historic eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

  • The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936), a classic film about the Dust Bowl that includes a climactic dust storm sequence in which day suddenly becomes night and the landscape changes from moment to moment.

The Natural Disasters collection sells for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and is available at Costco, Sam’s Club, and other major retailers nationwide, as well as at selected National Archives museum shops.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent Federal agency, is the nation's record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique —to serve American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. We ensure continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. We support democracy, promote civic education, and facilitate historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, among them helping people to trace their families' history, making it possible for veterans to prove their entitlement to medical and other benefits, and preserving original White House records. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at

About TOPICS Entertainment

Founded in 1990, TOPICS Entertainment is the largest, privately owned multimedia publishing company in the United States. TOPICS offers more than 300 consumer language‑learning, education, and entertainment multimedia products, and is the exclusive software publisher/distributor for National Geographic, Rand McNally, World Book, Kaplan, Scholastic, and several others. An active supporter of the environment and education, TOPICS donates 5 percent of pre‑tax profits to a variety of conservation and environmental education organizations. Visit its web site at

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.


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