Forces of Nature

We see the destruction that the Earth can unleash in the news on a regular basis. Here you can learn about hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other forces of nature.

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Auroras are one of the best parts about living on a planet with a global magnetic field. And they still puzzle space weather experts.

By Ian O'Neill, Ph.D.

Whenever a winter is exceptionally cold, the term "polar vortex" gets thrown around, causing many to wonder if it is a new weather phenomenon. Actually, the polar vortex is always with us – just usually with a lower profile.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Rock salt is the go-to for melting ice on the roadways. But why?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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You may never see it happen live, but if you do, consider yourself lucky. Because this meteorological phenomenon doesn't happen very often.

By Mark Mancini

Thanks in part to strict building codes, damage from the November 7.0 earthquake was relatively minimal.

By John Donovan

This ice-age asteroid crater isn't just the first of its kind. It may also be the smoking gun about what triggered the Younger Dryas, one of the most well-known examples of abrupt climate change.

By Mark Mancini

Ice cubes usually look cloudy and opaque in the middle, despite the fact that water is clear. What's the deal?

By Mark Mancini

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Noctilucent clouds form at high altitudes when drifting particles become coated with ice crystals at low temperatures.

By Mark Mancini

Most people probably think high winds are the deadliest aspect of a hurricane. But they'd be wrong. It's the wall of water brought on by storm surge that barrels on shore taking out everything in its path.

By John Donovan

From hurricanes, to earthquakes, to tornadoes, there's no shortage of potential disasters that can ruin homes and devastate lives. Think you’re ready to survive the next disaster? Take this quiz and find out.

By Nathan Chandler

When Mother Nature is at her worst, the state and federal governments often step in to protect U.S. citizens. But moving masses of people away from the coast isn't an easy feat.

By John Donovan

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It's sometimes easy to confuse the two, but weather and climate are very different things.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Even though Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 2, the storm could still unleash an historic amount of rain.

By Sarah Gleim & John Donovan

Hurricane Hector is barreling toward the erupting volcano Kilauea. What could possibly be worse?

By John Donovan

The Carr fire in Northern California is currently the sixth-largest in the state's history. How did it get so out of control?

By John Donovan

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Or do we just stick with the five categories we already have?

By John Perritano

Scorching-high temps seem to be the norm this summer. So what does this kind of heat do to your body?

By Mark Mancini

A fire can burn for years, yes years, in a swamp. What's the deal?

By Mark Mancini

Both dry and over-saturated soil can contribute to flash flooding. Can anything be done to prevent them from becoming catastrophic?

By Mark Mancini

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Tsunamis are triggered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on the ocean's floor. But other massive waves are caused by wind and can come on suddenly and without warning.

By Mark Mancini

The evidence is clear: Human activities — like the burning of fossil fuels — are the main driving force behind modern climate change.

By Mark Mancini

We hear about humidity in just about every weather report on the nightly news. There are several different ways meteorologists measure humidity, but relative humidity is the most common measurement. What is relative humidity, though?

By Nathan Chandler

To date 14 massive fissures have opened up near Kilauea, and the Big Island has been rocked by repeated earthquakes. Do these geological events foreshadow a massive volcanic eruption?

By Mark Mancini

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We may not be able to hear infrasound, but we sure can use it to detect tornadoes.

By Christopher Hassiotis

The mercury soared to over 122 degrees Fahrenheit in Nawkwabash, Pakistan. It could be the highest April temp ever recorded on the planet.

By Mark Mancini