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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The question about supervolcanoes, it turns out, isn't whether one could destroy all life on Earth. It's when will it do it again. Wait, what?

By Kate Kershner

The most damaging hurricanes usually have female names. Is this a case of gender bias, or is some other force at work?

By Laurie L. Dove

Nothing ruins a good hair day like humidity, especially if your hair is dry and overprocessed. What's the science behind the frizz?

By Laurie L. Dove

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It sounds simple enough. A wildfire is burning in your immediate area, so you turn from it and run. But getting away from a fire on foot may not be as easy as you think.

By Alison Cooper

Out of nowhere comes a flash flood, causing water to rise quickly in your immediate area. Should you jump in your vehicle to get away from the floodwaters or try to escape by foot? Trying to outrun a flood is a bad idea. Here's why.

By Alison Cooper

A tornado warning has just been activated in your area. Should you hunker down where you are, or should you hop in your vehicle and drive away? Trying to outrun a tornado sounds like a reasonable idea, but is it really?

By Alison Cooper

In the movies it looks so easy. A team of scientists are working near the crater of a volcano when it suddenly erupts. They jump in their vehicle and outrace the surging lava flow to safety. In reality, it just doesn't happen that way.

By Alison Cooper

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You're on a winter hike on a snowy path through the mountains when an icy blast of cold air swoops in. It's about to get dangerously cold, and you have a decision to make. Should you stay where you are or try to outrun the deadly cold?

By Alison Cooper

Seattle Seahawks fans were jumping up and down as their team played in the Super Bowl. Actually, they've been jumping up and down all season. Could all that excited flailing about ever cause the Big One?

By Kate Kershner

The Americas have been hit with some major hurricanes throughout the decades. But which are the worst? We'll break down all the bad ones, from Katrina to Camille.

By Chris Opfer & Sarah Gleim

When a hurricane or flash flood strikes a city, it can leave residents stranded in their cars, homes or other buildings waiting for rescue. How do rescue teams know where to go first?

By Laurie L. Dove

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A very strong storm doesn't automatically mean death or destruction. You can improve the odds of surviving intact with reinforcements to your home. Plus, scientists are improving their forecast methods. Let's look at high-tech and low-tech storm alerts.

By Patrick J. Kiger

"Nor'easter" is one of those words that makes you think of an old mariner scanning the horizon for a pending storm. What does it really mean — and why don't we say "northeaster"?

By Laurie L. Dove

What makes a nor'easter different from your run-of-the-mill winter storm? And which ones have done the most damage?

By Laurie L. Dove

Auroras themselves aren't rare, but spotting one can be tricky: You need a clear, dark sky within one of the auroral zones. What are 10 spots that up the odds a bit?

By Julia Layton

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"It sure looks like a catastrophic storm, Bob." Or so it seems that every TV weather reporter says while standing in front of some dramatically swelling waves. But can the drama backfire? Does the hype machine cause people to overlook severe weather?

By Chris Opfer

If you've ever spied a night sky splashed with vivid billows of color, either you have access to interesting drugs or you've seen an aurora firsthand. If it's the latter, your sky-gazing probably took place during spring or autumn. How come?

By Kate Kershner

You've heard the weather forecast on the radio: A storm is coming. That means time to hit the grocery store for bread and milk! But why those items, when they're likely to spoil with a power cut?

By Laurie L. Dove

The thought probably crossed your mind. It crossed ours, too. So here's what we found when we investigated the connection between the Frankenstorm and the global issue.

By Kate Kershner

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Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast of the United States on Oct. 29, 2012, causing extensive flooding and damage. Millions of homes, businesses and even hospitals lost power in the wake of the storm.

By Tracy V. Wilson & Allison Loudermilk

Inject heat, ash and fire into a spinning mass of air. Watch as a funnel of flames leaps from the ground, reaches for the heavens and then races forward to consume everything in its path. Is such a phenomenon possible?

By William Harris

What happens when the rains cease and water levels dry up precipitously? Everything from abundant grasses to apex predators suffers the consequences.

By Robert Lamb

Though they're outranked by other, more dangerous natural phenomena, dust storms can still do serious damage to life and property. What causes these massive storms?

By Vicki M. Giuggio

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Let's say a big one strikes the home planet. You, however, happen to be flying above the earthquake's epicenter when the natural disaster ripples through. Would you feel it?

By Robert Lamb

Smokejumpers are the men and women who specialize in fighting blazes their ground-bound peers can't reach. So who are they, and what's the "Mutilator"?

By Jessika Toothman