Natural Disasters

Unpredictable forces of nature like tornadoes and hurricanes can have a devastating impact on humans and our environment. Learn how natural disasters work and how science aims to better predict them.

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Numerous predictions of a 2012 apocalypse cite the Bible as their source material. But does the good book actually contain this information?

By John Kelly

Every time disaster strikes, one man's name arises alongside the obsessive news coverage: Nostradamus. According to some folks, the famed French seer has predicted many of the planet's gloomy twists and turns. What did he have to say about 2012?

By Jonathan Atteberry

It seems like every few years someone comes out with a new doomsday prophecy. From aliens and asteroids to floods and earthquakes, how do people think the world will end?

By Clint Pumphrey

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As the clock ticks closer to Dec. 21, 2012, discussion regarding what exactly will happen to the world and human civilization continues to heat up. What are some of the wackier conspiracy theories about the year 2012?

By Jane McGrath

You've probably heard people whispering about the end of the world coming up in 2012. But how do they know for certain? Where did the rumor start?

By Jane McGrath

There may be a time when all that stands between your home and the rising floodwaters are some sacks full of sand. Will this defense keep you safe?

By Kim Williamson

It's not just the stuff of Hollywood movies. Tornadoes strike hundreds of times in the United States each year -- often with deadly force. These tips will greatly improve your odds of surviving a twister.

By Emilie Sennebogen

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Without question, nature can produce beautiful light shows. Add wind, rain and hail, and you have an awe-inspiring event. But thunderstorms are not to be taken lightly. Here's how to stay safe as Mother Nature displays her strength.

By Sara Elliott

These earthquake pictures show building damage, road buckling and fault lines exposed from earthquakes. Click through our gallery of earthquake pictures.

We know where major fault lines crisscross the Earth and where about 80 percent of the world's earthquakes occur; it's the "when" that seismologists have valiantly struggled with. Why?

By Robert Lamb

Wildfire isn't always bad for a forest -- it can clear brush, fertilize soil and open new space. But if a prescribed burn or even a small campfire gets out of control, it can quickly destroy forest, homes and wildlife. How do wildfires start?

By Jessika Toothman

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At some point in your life, a coach may have enthusiastically told you to "fight fire with fire." Coach, of course, was speaking metaphorically. Do firefighters actually employ this strategy?

By Robert Lamb

If the big one struck, would you be ready? No? Then start reading and stocking up on food, water and other essential supplies. And hurry up. For some of you, it's not "if" but "when."

By Jacob Silverman

We tend to think of the ground beneath our feet as terra firma, but sometimes it's as stable as a house of cards. What happens when the Earth opens up to swallow homes, cars and people?

By Jacob Silverman

Folks in Montana usually expect snow or rain to fall from the sky, not ash. But the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington flung ash across state lines. What is this gritty, gray stuff?

By Robert Lamb

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At any moment, magma moving at 100 mph could rumble into the communities at this volcano's base. Scientists predict a massive eruption, but the question is when.

By Cristen Conger

A tornado can turn a house into toothpicks, but when you think about it, it's really just a funnel of air. What's it like on the inside?

By Charles W. Bryant

Wildfires spread quickly consuming almost everything in their path -- including homes. What can you do if you see the inferno racing toward your home?

By Katherine Neer

San Francisco has a new airport that's supposed to stand up to the rigors of an earthquake. Does that mean that planes can land while a massive quake is shaking the city?

By Katherine Neer

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There are obvious craters on Earth (and the moon) that are evidence of a long history of massive objects hitting planet Earth. But what would happen if an asteroid hit Earth today?

By Marshall Brain & Sarah Gleim

Earthquakes and their resulting aftershocks can be devastatingly destructive. Earthquakes are caused when a fault in the Earth's crust slips, which releases energy waves in the ground. Find a list of 12 of the most destructive earthquakes in history.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Tornadoes are dangerous things, so it's important for you and your family to be prepared in the event of one. The United States experiences more tornadoes than the rest of the world due to low-lying geography. See our list of 15 tornado safety tips.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The Mount St. Helens eruption resulted in almost 60 deaths. Learn more about the Mount St. Helens eruption, from how it happened to the aftereffects.

By Marshall Brain

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Learn how avalanches form, how long you can stay alive while buried under an avalanche and what steps you can take to survive.

By Tracy V. Wilson

The wall of water that struck northern Japan on March 11 claimed more than nearly 16,000 lives. While the human and cultural extents of this natural disaster are difficult to grasp, we can explain the physical properties that led to it.

By Robert Valdes, Nathan Halabrin & Robert Lamb