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.

You might think of weather as something that happens around your life. It could prevent you from taking a bike ride or inspire you grab an umbrella on your way out. But there's more to weather than its ability to thwart the best-laid plans.

It may seem like a perfectly reckless display of aeronautical wiles, but guiding an airplane into a swirling beast of a hurricane gleans data that can save lives. The only question is, who were the crazy mavericks who attempted it first?

Many cultures have a flood myth -- an ancient story of a deluge that swallowed the Earth. So could a great flood really have happened, and how would we be able to tell?

When the earliest tornado on record was observed, onlookers called it a "steeple of fire." Technological advancements like the Totable Tornado Observatory have since helped demystify these powerful storms.

When climate variations mix with unsustainable agriculture and urbanization, vast swaths of once-fertile lands transform into deserts. Is the U.S. in danger of becoming a dried-up wasteland?

When the weather radio sends the ominous signal that a tornado is near, most people run for cover. But some die-hard adventurers get their jollies by chasing these violent storms. Who started this dangerous hobby?

We all know it's a little cooler under a shady tree. But do trees have an effect on the five-day forecast, or even the global climate?

Ball lightning can float through the air, pass through walls and even kill you. What could it be, and why are scientists finally accepting this strange meteorological phenomenon?

A heavy rain in which frogs come plummeting down isn't a pretty sight, but it happens more often than you'd think. Why do animals sometimes fall from the sky?

Thunderstorms are impressive and destructive elements of nature. This collection of images highlights some of the most spectacular features of storms.

The birds stop chirping, and the wind chimes are silent. This eerie calm that's invaded your neighborhood is just a temporary pause before the shrills and shrieks of the incoming storm.

Witch homicide aside, Dorothy was lucky that her home safely traveled to Oz after the tornado. Many people who lived through the storms on our list were left with nothing.

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.

Can Fido predict an incoming tornado? If animals can predict the weather, do we stop trusting the weatherman and start visiting the zoo to get tomorrow's forecast?

Did bunnies just attack that sailboat, or was it a narwhal playing with a school of fish? Are you going crazy, or are you just watching the clouds?

If a tornado was heading your way, you'd probably head for the hills. But for some people, it's just the beginning of a chase.

Some of the most dramatic displays of nature can be found in the form of lightning bolts. This stunning image gallery showcases this fascinating phenomena.

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?

Auroras are stunning natural light shows that are visible only in certain parts of the world at certain times of the year. Where can you go to see one?

Being struck by lightning is a little more complicated than a sudden collision with a flash of light from the sky. How can someone survive such a jolt?

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

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?

There are obvious craters on Earth (and the moon) that show us a long history of large objects hitting the planet. But what if one hit Earth today?

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.

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.