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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200 Years Ago, We Had a Year Without a Summer

More than two centuries ago, the biggest volcanic explosion in human history occurred. And it had far-reaching effects.

Saguaro Cacti Thrive When the World's Massive Volcanoes Erupt, Study Finds

New research links massive historic volcanic eruptions in Asia to a baby boom generation of the iconic Sonoran Desert cactus.

10 Times Humanity Fought Against Nature (and Won)

Trying to wrangle Mother Nature has successfully saved millions of lives, even if, at other times, it's quite literally blown up in our faces.

You Haven't Seen Lightning Until You've Seen This Slow-motion Lightning

Florida Tech filmed lightning strikes with powerful cameras that show the strikes almost 30 times slower than real life.

Tiny Louisiana Community Is Rapidly Vanishing Due to Rising Seas

Once 5 miles wide, the Isle de Jean Charles has shrunk to be a spit of land barely a quarter mile wide. Soon it will no longer exist.

Evidence Two Ancient Tsunamis Reshaped Mars Points to Potential for Life

Billions of years ago, asteroid strikes caused mega-tsunamis made up of liquid water and frozen ice, scarring the red planet forever, according to new findings.

How El Nino Works

El Nino is anything but child's play when it comes to affecting the globe's weather — and, in turn, our economies, health and safety.

The Aurora as Seen From Space Is Prettier Than You Ever Imagined

Just because astronauts are in space doesn't mean they can't use Twitter. These images of the Northern Lights were shot by International Space Station crewmembers.

10 Times It Has Rained Something Other Than Water

Frogs! Fish! Birds! A surprising number of things have rained down from the sky besides water. But how?

'Fire Rainbows' and 'Sun Dogs': Weird Weather in the Smartphone Age

Smartphone cameras enable us to take striking pictures of strange atmospheric phenomena—though we don’t always know what we’re seeing.

Does thunder in the winter mean snow is coming?

Thunder in the winter is a pretty cool phenomenon. It's unexpected, plus some say when you hear it, snow will arrive within seven days. If you hear thunder during the winter, should you get your snow shovel ready?

How rare are double rainbows?

A double rainbow, man! Just the sight of one can send us babbling into happiness. And why not? Rainbows are beautiful. And two rainbows at the same time? Even better. But just how rare are these colorful arcs?

Does lightning really never strike the same spot twice?

You've always heard that lightning never strikes the same spot twice. So if that tree stump in the yard was struck during a storm, why not just go sit there during the next storm? You're safe, right? You might want to rethink that.

Should you get in your bathtub during a tornado?

Your bathtub is great for taking a soak, giving the kids a bath, or even washing the dog. But can it protect you during a tornado? Read on to find out why — and why not.

Should you open your windows during a tornado?

There's a tornado coming! What do you do first? Grab your valuables? Seek shelter? Panic? Open the windows? Wait, what? Some say opening the windows in your house makes a tornado cause less damage. Read on to find out the truth.

Is It Dangerous to Bathe During a Thunderstorm?

There's nothing quite as relaxing as a nice bubble bath at the end of the day. However, take one during a thunderstorm and you may have a shocking experience instead.

How big can hail get (and how is that even possible)?

The longer ice bounces around in storm clouds, the bigger the hailstones will be when they fall to Earth. Drag that process out for a while, and comparisons to mere golf balls just won't cut it.

Do tornadoes really avoid mountains?

Every year during tornado season, we see devastating effects of twisters in flat regions. But what about mountains? Do tornadoes steer clear of mountainous landscapes?

Are underpasses safe during a tornado?

If only all tornadoes took us to the Land of Oz. Unfortunately, they only force us to seek safe shelter. If you're driving with a twister on the horizon, is it safe to ride out the tornado in an underpass?

Can a tornado cross a river?

Twisters are among the most frightening weather events since, well, forever. Is it true that a tornado can't jump a body of water? Are you safe if you grab a boat and paddle away?

Can a waterspout turn into a tornado?

Have you ever watched a waterspout move over the ocean or a lake from what you thought was a safe distance? Don't get too comfortable next time. Waterspouts and tornadoes are closely related.

Could there be a triple rainbow?

If the legend is true, at the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold. Does that mean if triple rainbows exist, you'll find three pots of gold?

Does a wet summer mean a brilliant fall?

One of the best things about autumn is watching the leaves change color – fiery hues lining the landscape, ushering in cooler weather. Some say a rainy summer leads to an extra-vivid leaf show. Is that true?

Do rubber tires insulate your car from lightning?

To paraphrase the band Queen, thunder and lightning are very, very frightening. Especially when you're stuck in a car in the middle of nowhere. But can your rubber tires protect you from a lightning strike?

Do tornadoes disproportionately strike trailer parks?

If you live in a mobile home park, are you more likely to be hit by a tornado? Media images certainly make it seem that way. Find out if there's any truth to this scary stereotype.


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