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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Barometers are used to predict the weather. What exactly does it mean when the weatherman says the barometer is rising or falling?

Whether you're planning an outdoor wedding or a Saturday morning tag sale, it's nice to know ahead of time what the sky is going to do. But does checking the 10-day forecast do any more good than praying for sunshine?

By Robert Lamb

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

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For 500 years, explorers searched for the fabled Northwest Passage, a route that connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Could global warming reduce the risk and open the passage for modern business?

By Sarah Dowdey

Before barometers and thermometers, people looked to the land and local lore to predict rain or shine. Have sophisticated statistical models and measuring tools changed the art of forecasting the weather that much?

By Robert Lamb

Chances are you could formulate a reasonably well-informed guess. Why not read the article and get the definitive answer?

By Nicholas Gerbis

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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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.

By Robert Lamb

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?

By Josh Clark

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?

By Maria Trimarchi

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.

By Josh Clark

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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?

By Maria Trimarchi

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?

By Josh Clark

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?

By Maria Trimarchi

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?

By Maria Trimarchi

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Sometimes a lightning storm heralds sightings of St. Elmo's Fire. What causes the mysterious glow sailors interpreted as a sign of salvation?

By Julia Layton

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?

By Julia Layton

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

By Rick Mayda

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.

By Jessika Toothman

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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.

By Jessika Toothman & Nicholas Gerbis

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

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?

By Jessika Toothman

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?

By Jessika Toothman

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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.

By Ed Grabianowski

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.