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10 Terrible Acts of Mother Nature

jack flash . . . Comments

For years now, we have suffered unremitting lectures on how mankind is ruining its chance of a future due to its indiscriminate disposal of waste, and excessive reliance upon fossil fuels. This is just a small reminder that, when in a bad mood, Old Mother Nature can do more harm to the fragile human race in the blink of an eye than men can do to themselves in over a century of industrial pollution. Her advantage is, she has the time and the talent to remake everything again. Natural catastrophes have always played a part in this planets history, but I don’t intend to comment on those still fresh in peoples minds. In chronological order:


Humanity Obliterated – Almost


Biped humanoids first appeared several million years ago, but the modern variety, Homo sapiens, hadn’t been around too long before they were almost wiped out. About 75,000 years ago, Lake Toba, in Indonesia, erupted in a super volcanic event, described by many scientists as ‘mega-colossal’. The event is believed to have been the largest explosive eruption anywhere on earth in the last 25 million years, and it was so immense it came very close to calling time-out for the burgeoning human race.

Up to 6,000 cubic kilometers of ash – enough to cover the entire USA to a depth of 70cm – jetted into the atmosphere. It took place in a part of the world fairly thin in habitation at that time, but its discharge of vast amounts of noxious sulphur dioxide, and a deposit of ash 25 centimeters thick, destroyed all the lush forests of south-east Asia, while dust clouds blocked sunlight and plunged the entire planet into an estimated 6 to 10 year volcanic winter.

There was worldwide destruction of vegetation and severe drought in all tropical rain forests, and entire groups of animals became eliminated. Some people believe this may have resulted in humans world-wide being reduced to just a few thousand individuals, surviving mostly in Africa, with a core of perhaps only 10,000 breeding pairs. This bottleneck in human evolution, they say, could have been responsible for the very small residual gene pool in the world’s population now.


Ancient Floods


The world has seen countless awesome flood events, for instance meltwater from retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age created the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea as vast freshwater lakes. Around 8500 BC, the massive Lake Agassiz in North America – the worlds largest ever freshwater lake – was still filling with meltwater from the colossal American ice sheets. This lake – of which the present day Great Lakes are only a remnant – was about 2000km in length – a virtual inland freshwater sea – stretching from Hudson Bay in northern Canada, as far south as Minnesota in the present day USA.

Eventually the lake could hold no more water from the thawing ice, and when it burst its banks, about 30 per cent more water than contained in all the worlds lakes today blasted into the North Atlantic. The surge of fresh water was so dramatic it disrupted the warm Gulf Stream current in the ocean, and caused a 400 year dip in world temperatures, plunging the planet into another brief ice age. Afterwards, rapid global warming led to a phenomenal rise in sea levels – more then 30 meters.

Around 5600 BC, the Mediterranean Sea cascaded over the Bosporus sill, which was dry land until then, and transformed the freshwater Black Sea into a vast salt water inlet. Geologists claim that ‘ten cubic miles of water poured into the Black Sea for about 300 days’ – which is 200 times greater than goes over Niagara Falls today.

More than 600,000 square miles of land was flooded, triggering mass migrations of animals and people across Europe and Asia. It may be that some of the people fleeing westward were the first to introduce farming into Europe. The earliest traces of European agriculture are to be found in the southeast region of the continent.


Britain Becomes An Island


Until 6100 BC, Britain had been linked to Europe by a broad land bridge of chalk downland running from Kent to the Vale of York, and eastwards towards Denmark, and for 4,000 years people moved back and forth across it on hunting trips. This region is referred to as ‘Doggerland’ by scientists (a compliment to the Dogger Bank, which lays beneath the North Sea). There was a river running through it – the river of Nord – that the Thames, the Rhine and the Seine all flowed into.

Around 6100 BC, a massive underwater landslide along the edge of Norway was triggered by the receding Ice Age. Known today as the Storegga Slide, the collapse involved 290 km of the coastal shelf falling into the sea. The displacement caused one of the greatest tsunamis ever known on Earth. Huge tidal waves came racing across the North Sea to slam against north-east Scotland, and the sea penetrated forty kilometers inland before starting to drain back. The same massive surge of water also inundated the connecting low lying land between Britain and Europe.

The flooding lasted for several months, and at its peak one million cubic meters of water flowed into the English Channel every second, that’s a thousand times more than goes over Victoria Falls, in Africa. Swift currants flowing between the Atlantic and the North Sea quickly deepened the rift, leaving just stumps of sandbanks. The mega flood changed things permanently. The people on the former ‘peninsular’ were suddenly cut off from Europe.


The Great Flood


Inundations that wreck the settled life of people are common in history. Many cultural groups throughout the world have a tradition of folk tales that tell of traumatic flood events, but there is no reason to suppose they all happened at the same time, and there is no evidence to support the idea of a global flood.

In ancient Mesopotamia the environment was harsh – hot summers, little rainfall and rivers that flooded unpredictably. Yet the agriculture of that country depended on an annual flooding of the rivers to revitalize the soil, so many Sumerian cities were built near a flood plain. However, in some years the rivers did not flood enough, and in others they flooded too much. Around 3100 BC, the Euphrates spilled over much more than usual and swamped the city of Shuruppak, and a great deal of the region around it.

Shuruppak was a large and prominent city at that time. Today we would expect to see an instant inrush of rescue helicopters and humanitarian aid to the scene, but in 3,100 BC such things didn’t exist. There would have been much misery, but scant sympathy shown by others. The fate of the people in and around Shuruppak would have been viewed by outsiders as the punishment of the gods for their profanities and sinful ways.

Although in terms of world events it was only a local disaster, this flood had a profound impact on the Sumerians as a whole who, perhaps combining it with dimly recalled hand-me-down folk memories of the Black Sea flood, then dramatized it in their Genesis story Epic of Gilgamesh. It is from this account that the Jewish and Christian faiths drew the tradition of Noah’s Flood.

The Epic features an equivalent of Noah in a man called Utnapishtim, and the associated tale of animals being rescued ‘two by two’ could be construed as desperate herdsmen attempting to salvage some breeding stock, since such animals were their livelihood.


Thera – Bang!


The eruption of the volcano on the island of Thera (now called Santorini) around 1600 BC has become a key marker for the Bronze Age, in the Eastern Mediterranean. It was probably the largest volcanic event in recorded history. The volcano literally exploded, destroying most of the island it had created, and sterilizing the bits that remained. Researchers say that during the ash fallout an area of at least 300,000 sq. km would have been plunged into total darkness, and sulphur discharged into the atmosphere would have caused significant cooling of the earths surface.

One immediate victim was the thriving Minoan city and port of Akrotiri, that had been established on Thera. Its awful fate may have inspired certain Greek myths, and given rise to Plato’s story of Atlantis. Although the inhabitants of Akrotiri had been evacuated before the final event, the massive tsunami caused by the eruption would have been catastrophic for the communities on the islands nearby, and those on the coast of Crete.

The subsequent volcanic winter probably contributed to the disorder in Egypt at this time, and it has even been blamed for the downfall of the Xia dynasty in ancient China, when: ‘there was a yellow fog, a dim sun, frost in July and the withering of all crops’. There are even those who claim that environmental conditions triggered by the Thera explosion were responsible for the string of 10 plagues in ancient Egypt that are recorded in the Bible.

The plagues preceded the exodus of the Israelites, and traditionalists believe the exodus to have occurred around 1450 BC. That is the subject of many scholarly debates, but radiocarbon dating (giving leeway for a few years either way) insists the Israelites sacked Jericho around 1562 BC, therefore their departure from Egypt could easily have been at the time of the Thera event.


Middle Ages Begin Here


In 535-536 there was a severe episode of climate cooling, thought to have been caused by an extensive atmospheric dust veil from volcanic activity in the tropics. Science writer David Keys believes the cause was a volcanic super eruption equal to millions of Hiroshima size bombs. Its effects were certainly felt worldwide.

A Chinese court journal mentioned ‘a huge thunderous sound coming from the south-east’, while thousands of miles away a Hopi elder said, ‘there was a big noise heard all over the Earth’. The Pustaka Raja Purwa in Indonesia wrote, ‘then came forth a furious gale that darkened the entire world’. From Mongolia to Constantinople, chroniclers reported the sun lost its radiance and its warmth for almost two years, causing unseasonable weather and crop failures that precipitated plagues, famines and chaotic migrations.

Keys believes such calamities may have led to the fall of the great Mexican city of Teotihuacan, and could also have had a role in the birth of Islam, which became established less than a hundred years later. In addition, he hypothesizes they may have been a major factor in initiating the three hundred years of social turmoil in Europe, erroneously known as the Dark Ages but now known as the early Middle Ages.

The volcanologist R B Stothers favours the eruption of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea as the culprit in all this, while others believe it was an early super eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia.


The Year Without a Summer

Screen Shot 2011-05-26 At 7.39.03 Am

1816 was the ‘year without a summer’, and the following year is sometimes referred to as ‘eighteen hundred and frozen to death’. The cause was the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, in which the volcano violently exploded and precipitated the coldest year of the nineteenth century, and one of the coldest on record.

The blast was four times more powerful than that of Krakatoa and 52,000 times more powerful than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in 1945. In the Far East 92,000 people died, mainly from starvation due to the devastation of crops and animal life. Dust and sulphuric ash clouds propelled into the atmosphere cloaked sunlight, disrupted weather and caused global temperatures to drop for three consecutive years. In India, the annual monsoons failed to fall in their usual regions, leading to a massive epidemic of cholera among people compelled to rely on supplies of foul, stagnant water.

Europe was more affected than the USA, possibly because of the size of population rather than the weather conditions. Failure of crops led to food riots in France and Switzerland, and at least 200,000 people died in a typhus epidemic. Nevertheless, the near total destruction of harvests in New England led to the first mass migration of farmers to the mid-west, and changed the pattern of American agriculture for ever.


The Old Chestnut

File:Krakatoa 01

Krakatoa keeps cropping up, and since it is probably the most famous volcanic event in recent history, it has to be included. Krakatoa is a volcano on the island of Rakata, in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. On 27 August, 1883, the volcano exploded so violently that the noise was heard 3,500 miles away in Perth, Western Australia. Shock waves traveled around the globe 7 times, and clouds of ash were driven 80 km (50 miles) into the sky.

The 23km square island had existed to a height of 450m above sea level, but the blast leveled most of it to 250m below sea level. Pyroclastic flows destroyed voyaging ships 40km away. The combined effects of volcanic ash, pyroclastic flows (clouds of super-heated dust and gas which rip along the ground – or sea – at 100 mph), and the resulting 40m high tsunami had disastrous consequences for nearby small islands and coastal regions.

The official death toll in the immediate area was recorded as 37,000, but this only took into account those people on the coasts of Java and Sumatra. Some sources estimate the overall fatalities to have been four times that number. Global temperatures dropped by 1.2 Celsius, and world weather patterns remained chaotic for the next five years. Ominously, Krakatoa is still active and is slowly rebuilding itself. The ‘child of Krakatoa’ poked its head above the waves in 1930.


Tokyo Calamity


During the last thousand years earthquakes have been responsible for the deaths of at least eight million people worldwide. One of the biggest, measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale, occurred at Sagami Bay near Tokyo, in 1923. It was not the worse earthquake Japan had suffered, but because of its proximity to a high density of population, it was the most destructive.

Shock waves and falling debris in the city tipped over countless cooking stoves, and because the majority of the buildings were traditionally of wood and paper construction, they started millions of fires. Flammable materials in warehouses and industrial plants helped to fuel the flames, and, whipped up by the wind, the fires merged into a series of horrendous firestorms that lasted two days and two nights.

The well-trained fire service were helpless because broken water mains made water supply unavailable. 30,000 people trapped in the Honjo and Fukagawa districts sought refuge in a large open area, but ended up being incinerated there. When the fires finally burnt themselves out, Japan’s principle business districts were in ruins and up to 150,000 people had been killed, but while it was a national disaster for Japan, it went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world.


The Future


It is well known that the ground beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is a suitable candidate for a colossal super eruption that could equal the event at Lake Toba, over 70,000 years ago. Geo-hazard expert Bill McGuire has made a study of natural catastrophes and he believes there will be no let up of disasters in the future. Other possibilities he outlines include:

Mega-tsunami: The western coast of La Palma (Canary Islands) is primed to collapse into the sea. When this happens the eastern coastal cities of the USA will be struck by tsunamis 50m high.

Earthquake: Another major Tokyo earthquake on a par with that of 1923 would cause damage totaling $7 trillion, and could trigger a global economic collapse.

Asteroid Impact: A collision with an asteroid 1-1.5 kilometers in diameter would result in the deaths of at least a quarter of the worlds population. The survivors would be hurled back to a level of life consistent with the Middle Ages.

Possible Global Warming: By the end of the century the Earth may be hotter than at any time in the past 150,000 years. No one knows what consequences this would have.

Possible Global Cooling: Just 600 human generations have passed since the end of the last glacial period, but the planet could be priming itself for a return to full glacial conditions – remember, we are currently in an ice age called the Pleistocene glaciation. McGuire believes that all that is needed to induce rapid global cooling is a trigger, and ironically global warming could provide just such a trigger.

But hey, we shouldn’t worry too much. If any of this stuff is going to happen the chances are it’s not likely to be before December 2012!

  • Pablo

    Seems like mother nature is just PMSing sometimes.

    • Ha nice

    • FoxyJess

      All the more reason to RESPECT her! Lol. You don’t want to make her angry. You won’t like her when she’s angry…

  • des

    Great List. Somehow reminds me of George Carlins rant about saving the planet. “The planet is okay, the people are f*****.

    • nothingnew

      Haha, the same thing crossed my mind.

  • Great list. Although, I wouldn’t say “terrible,” so much as “awesome.” I hadn’t even heard of a majority of these, so it was a fun read.

    One thing though: In the 10th entry it says, “the event is believed to have been the largest explosive eruption anywhere on earth in the last 25 million years,” and in the 6th entry it says, “It was probably the largest volcanic event in recorded history.” Which is it? Or are you making the distinction of recorded history being when humans were actively writing things down as opposed to history that we have knowledge of? That’s probably it. Great list.

    • Xyroze

      By definition “history” refers to a period of time during which the events were transcribed in some manner. Time before that would be prehistory.

  • yup mother nature is definitely a woman and mankind is like the abusive drunken boy friend who doesn’t help with the house work and the kids and sit drinking beer and yelling at her from an arm chair while sports are on . One day this lady is gonna snap for realsies .

    • oooh, reminds me of my cousin, a bad temper and a pot of hot water

    • Simone

      Truuue!!! Scary…

  • stopper333

    I dont know why but this list made me mad. Ive never liked the idea of 1 single person, much less millions, dying in a split second. Its just not fair. Oh funny how you ended the list with 2012 haha.

    • I found myself listening to the Gilmore Girls soundtrack (don’t ask how), and a song came on with the poignant lyrics, “Life is unfair. Kill yourself or get over it.”

      • Dude ? Gilmore Girls Soundtrack ? The Question is not how, its Why- Actually its more like “WHY !? WHY !? WHY!?MY EARS!!!! OH GOD WHYYYYYYY!!???

        • Reminds me of the Gummi Bear incident when Julius said he had the Gumm Bears cd and it was “so awesome”

          • heh heh i remebered .

          • Auburn Tiger

            Lol you still haven’t forgotten. I wonder how frequently he still listens to that.

          • still i grew up on gummi bears its nostalgic .

          • Haha, I remember that. I’m glad you did too. I feel like it lessens the weirdness of my admission.

  • Name

    Enter your comment here.

  • Ungeist

    Everyone come to Australia, it seems to be the only safe place in the world…

    • Ah irony! Always appreciated

    • gav

      Nope. I have no desire to live among the leather-clad, S&M, post-apocalyptic drivers of “The Road Warrior”. I’ll take my chances with the post-volcanic C.H.U.D.s here in the U.S.

      • fendabenda

        Except that everything in Australia is poisonous (animals, plants, people). You’ll be killed by death in Australia before you even notice it….

        • Maggot

          You’ll be killed by death in Austrailia

          Death is fatal? Who knew?

          • honkster7

            My side of the country is anyway , the east seems to have floods/bushfires every couple of years , come to the west coast it is the best coast . Sure it floods
            up north in the Kimberly’s and Pilbara but nada in Perth

  • elohssa

    We need to remind the gentle hippies that loving mother nature can sometimes snap and drown her children in the tub

  • Scotjock81

    Great list learned something new today

  • Paul Llanberis

    Well researched list which brings perspective on how insignificand mankind truly is. With recent events in Japan and other mega disasters (e.g. the South Asia tsunami of 2004), life can be snuffed out in a moment. Almost a case for ‘eat,drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!”

    Some edits for grammar and spelling would help the article.

  • LadyShamisen

    I’m a bit scared right now guys…

    • Lifeschool

      Someone always says ‘I’m Scared’ to these kinds of lists. But why be scared of something that has already happened – or that might never happen?? I’m scared that one of these days my [deleted] is gonna call me up and tell me what she really thinks about me – but until that day comes I’m perfectly happy not thinking about it.

  • andste

    Great List.

    I have heard the phrase ‘eighteen hundred and frozen to death’ many times but always thought it was a weird saying, but now that i know where it comes from it makes more sense.

  • Will Trame

    I too found it interesting that December 2012 was mentioned at the conclusion of the list. Somehow I think we’re going to be here past December 21 of that aforementioned year. BTW, where’s Mr Camping now that his May 21, 2011 prediction proved to be a sermon of straw? Oh that’s right, October 21 is going to be the day now! (LMFAO).

    Actually, this wasn’t a bad list as I always love learning new trivia. Too bad recent examples were omitted as I still remember the April 1974 tornadoes and the Mt St Helens blow-up of 1980. Then, recent occurrences such as what happened in Joplin Missouri present the thorny notion that Mother nature can be a real b****.

    Pink Floyd hit the nail on the head with their 1994 track “Take It Back”. She might take it back someday…….

    • Spaz

      I went to Mt St Helens a couple of years after it happened and what a sight. You can see the power it had with the flattened trees miles away. I remember in the 80’s hearing reports about Mammoth Mountain in California. At that time a valley was rising a foot a year due to the collection of magma underneath it. They said that when it erupts there will be a thick blanket of ash all the way to the Mississippi River reaching into Canada and Mexico.

      • Akbar

        BP used a 5 year old Sea? Floor Study, to Locate drill In to the Mid Side OF a Black Smoker, Asphalt volcano. Compare live feedBP CEO, Sold Much of his B.P.Stock, So did Goldman Sacks Barak Obama. weeks beofre the DisasterDispersant BP is Using, banned In England Because of Toxic and hazardous to life.the Entire Gulf region is now a, NO FLY ZONE. because there faking the clean up efforts, In what Is being called a Balloon Pony alert to Subs landing after FEMA camp Evac !

    • inconspicuousdetective

      see, whats funny about that is that the world is scheduled to end on december 21st, 2012 (according to the myan calander) and if camping’s predictions keep falling through like they will, they may potentially conincide with that same day, although he’d have to keep up with the world ending on the 21st of every month its supposed to end haha.

  • Ness2k

    Such a dumb list. I’m guessing this person wanted to be funny, but it didnt happen at all.

    • Jimbo

      ^ Ignorant beyond belief

  • Mr. Ree

    This would have been a much better list except for the religious overtones and the dramatic non-sensical statements like: “how mankind is ruining its chance of a future due to its indiscriminate disposal of waste, and excessive reliance upon fossil fuels”

  • Blue

    This list is extremely lacking in any real evidence. I love the fact you have posted these here, but you need to do a lot more research in to the prevailing theories.

    You need to do a lot more research on this type of list than giving some anecdotal evidence or fringe theories, just as an example David Keys is laughed at by the majority of his own peers in the archeology world and geologists dont even consider him as a relevant person, and I quote “Critics have accused Keys of oversimplifying history with a single chain of causality. He has been charged with reassembling history to fit his thesis, relentlessly overworking its explanatory power in a manner reminiscent of Velikovsky’s theory that a comet collided with the earth in 1500 BC.”

    The Lake Toba Catastrophe theory is very hotly debated and there are not that many proponents of it, the reason being that there is absolutely no evidence of any other animal species or sub-species genetic divergence at this point in time, the eruption is very precisely dated to 75,000 years ago whereas any genetic bottleneck in humans and apes has an age spread of about 70,000 – 50,000 years ago and while it does cross the boundary, it is still to uncertain to be a recognised theory. The over-arching theory would need to show that animal and plant life suffered the same sort of bottleneck, which it doesnt. It is extremely difficult to link the bottleneck to Toba and the theory is starting to lose traction as a direct reason for the bottleneck. Most anthropologists now see the lack of genetic diversity as a direct result of one successful group of Homo Sapiens leaving Africa around the time of the eruption and this is the reason, not the dying of the people because of an eruption, rather the lack of diversity is because this group became the dominant Homo Sapiens. Other hominids such as Homo Erectus and Homo Floresiensis remained completely unaffected by the eruption as did all of the other groups of animalia.

    Most of the other scenarios here are based on theories and thesis outside of the accepted version of events. The Great Lakes and Doggerland are open to interpretation and those listed here are fringe theories at best. The waxing and waning of the ice sheets would have caused successive flooding in the areas stated and the supposed lakes and catastrophes would not have been single events. This is backed up by empirical evidence of flood deposits in the
    Dakota Badlands and on Doggerbank itself.

    The La Palma volcano Cumbre Vieja, while certainly seen as a risk by some sensationalist documentaries, could slowly slide in to the sea (which is the prevalent viewpoint) rather than catastrophically collapse. It is the earthquakes associated with the volcano that will determine how it collapses, if at all and it may not happen for several thousands of years.

    Being a geologist I am all for bringing these types of occurrences to the masses, however you should really do some better research to bring the standard view to the people reading here and not the sensationalist, or worse, fringe theory views presented.

    • good lord…

      Put your money where your mouth is and let’s see you write a similar list

    • Le tel

      Boo, pish to you and your cantankorous nit-picking. If i was looking for factual I would look it up myself. I come here for an interesting half hearted read. To think we take everything at face value on these lists is insulting, especially since they just had top 20 bigfoot sightings recently.

      Good list, fun to read and i like the “clin d’oueil” for 2012

      • Blue

        While I appreciate your enormously intelligent feedback, my points are not about the list or the writing of the list, they are about ensuring that you research your lists correctly.

        My constructive critique stands, I have not mentioned building my own list or anything of that nature, I am merely correcting the factual errors in this list.

        Try and see the difference it is quite large and as this is a comment section I shall freely comment on the list.

        • Spaz

          Thanks Blue for the additional info although I agree with Le tel that it is foolish to take any list and take it as fact.

    • Jimbo


      • Blue

        TS;TU (this is the acronym for To Stupid To Understand)

        You TL;DR crowd are showing your ignorance and your own shortcomings not the writers unfortunately

        • bigski

          leave blue alone he seems to be pretty smart and know what hes talking about….he has as much right to comment as anyone else !

    • Natem

      Thank you for the comment and don’t listen to the others. as you said, TSTU :-). I understand that these lists are meant to be recreational, yet its true that the facts need to be checked more thoroughly.
      It’s funny, I often read something here and on Cracked, then remember it later as if it was the truth – that’s pretty dangerous, as it leads to a lot of misconceptions and false beliefs.
      Just because a fringe theory exists, doesn’t mean its true, yet that’s exactly what I got after reading the article…

    • Andres

      While I find some of your criticism valid, and your tone unusually diplomatic (if a little condescending) for somebody correcting somebody else on the Internet, I think you’re going a little too far and I will actually call your pedantry unnecessary.

      It is true that the format of this list makes it look as if the author were factually saying that these events are universally accepted to have happened, but he **does** open his statements with a “Some people/scientists believe/say/assert that…”, which to me is more than enough to spare him any accusations that he is falsely claiming that this or that happened as a matter of fact.

      Also, you cannot rule out as “false” a theory just because it is only accepted by “some” in the scientific community. Granted, you cannot sell these things as indisputable facts, but you can present them as theories that have been proposed and that most people will find very interesting. This is in no way tantamount to sensationalism. If we were to stick to universally accepted facts this Web site would come down in a heartbeat.

      Any criticism geared toward letting the author now how he could have done a better job must start at pointing out the rather large amount of spelling and grammar errors, or at the very least it must do that at some point.

      I’m sure the author does appreciate your feedback, which, again, is completely valid for the most part. But let’s not hold a Listverse article to such high standards that a theory held by “some” cannot be presented, and let’s not accuse the author of sensationalism, especially considering that he does repeatedly acknowledge that many of the items here reflect only the positions of *some* scientists.

      • Blue

        Hi I understand what you are trying to say here but my points are valid in relation to the article.

        As an example; David Keys has, by most critical accounts, manipulated certain evidence to fit his theory. This is exactly the same way that certain groups retroactively place relevance to Nostradamus’ quatrains. My point here is that evidence and circumstantial proof are very different and the theory with the largest amount of empirical evidence is seen to be “true”. That is not to say this wont change when more evidence is uncovered, just that theories evolve with knowledge. Therefore the prevailing theories backed up by their evidence that have been peer reviewed several times over become the “norm” and fringe theories are just that, out on the fringe.

        As I stated, I really do appreciate this list as it is something close to my heart, however I would be remiss if I didnt point out where there were issues in its research. I dont hold Listverse to exceptional standards, just the ones in my own field :)

        Just remember the old adage “anything postulated without proof can be dismissed without proof” and that is really what I am saying. The theories presented are way apart from the consensus of current knowledge and most have been peer reviewed and found to be severely lacking in evidence and therefore credibility, which is why they are fringe theories at best, I could have put it a lot stronger than I did by posting various documents taking these theories apart, but I chose to give the considered view so that it would push people to look for themselves which is what I think Listverse’s raison d’etre really is. It certainly is for me, when something piques my interest I immediately start researching it after reading it on Listverse and I am sure many websites have benefited from increased traffic when subjects are mentioned here on Listeverse.

    • deadromeo

      “Mystery Of Megavolcano” by NOVA, it’s about eruption of lake Toba. I’ve seen it on youtube. When its volcanic ash spread around the globe (same chemical composition and dating to 75000 years ago), from the equator to greenland, then you can imagine how disasterous it was…

  • fedge

    For a long time global warming was something that i didn’t really think alot about. I knew there were issues in the world but i always had the ‘someone else will fix it’ mentality. However over the past 6 months or so the floods,earthquakes,tsunamis and other natural disasters have really made me sit up and take a bit more notice. It’s kinda like mother nature is trying to get people to realise what is going to happen if we dont start respecting what we have. It’s scary to think what problems my 4 beautiful children are going to inherit as they get older.

    Great list by the way!

  • Mother nature is such a scary bitch.

  • skeeter

    Great list. What I’m about to say is going to perpetuate the “all Americans are self-centered and stupid” myth.I wish this list would have used mteric and U.S. customary units of measurement. Having grown up not using the metric system, it’s difficult for me to visualize metric distances, depths, etc. I actually used a conversion table at first until I could get a rough idea. Stupid, I know. Otherwise, another great list. Every morning this site is the first place I hit, and I don’t feel quite right until I get my list fix.

  • oouchan

    Mother Nature really does has a temper, doesn’t she? One day she’s gonna get sick and tired of just grounding us and sending us to our room…and go postal.
    I live close enough to the Yellowstone Park to be wiped out instantly if that decides to go….but I would be glad of that. Don’t know if I want to be in the group that dies slower.

    Interesting (and thought-provoking) list.

    • I remember thinking the same thing during the ’80s nuclear scares!

      • Jimbo

        You’re old J fray. You were alive in the 80’s?

        • Will Trame

          Age can be considered a state of mind. I remember the 1980s, and, as stated in my first post, the devastating tornadoes that ripped through the Ohio valley in April 1974. After all, I graduated high school in 1976 and look forward to turning 54 this December. I dig every thinning greying hair on my increasingly balding head. Sometimes Mother nature can be as gentle as a lamb.

          The second league rock singer Sky Saxon (1937? 1945? 1946?-2009) of the Seeds put that particular philosophy in its best perspective by never divulging his exact year of birth. But then, I figure that would be pushin’ the envelope too hard.

          • man… getting old is a lousy way to spend the rest of your life .

          • Geko

            “Age is Mind over Matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

            Mark Twain

          • Canuovea

            What Mark Twain said.

  • joe mama

    There is no evidence to support a global flood? I think its time for top ten facts supporting the biblical flood…

    • gav

      reason #1: God was so pissed off that he wanted to pretty much wipe out all human life. But a god-blink later, he so loved the world he gave his only begotten son….

      Sounds like the Christian god is a bigger, temperamental, PMS-ing bee-yitch than Mother Nature. He needs some serious therapy.

      • Qwerty

        Why is there always someone like you in the comments section? If you don’t believe, then don’t.

        • Maggot

          Yes, people can believe or not believe whatever they want. The problem is when “believers” willfully distort evidence, willfully misrepresent facts, and deliberately omit contrary information, in order to force-fit it all around their preconceived and unwavering base premise belief, so as to claim that belief as fact. The OP wants a list of “facts” supporting a global flood belief? There are none.

          • Canuovea

            Basically what Maggot said.

          • vikn laos

            You say (Para): ‘ “believers” willfully distort evidence, willfully misrepresent facts, deliberately omit information, to force-fit it all around their preconceived belief.’

            I say “non-believers” also choose to; distort evidence, misrepresent facts and omit information in order to force-fit the observable world around their preconceived beliefs.

            I believe Joe Mama was merely suggesting that we look at both sides of the coin. After all history cannot be proven by science and must therefore be interpreted. This interpretation happens from a necessary starting point of preconceived ideas. Your preconceived belief is that the Bible is untrue and any alternative to the Bible must therefore be correct. My preconceived belief is that the Bible is true. There is just as much evidence to support a Global Flood as there is to refute it. Just because you choose to overlook this aspect (because it doesn’t fit in with your preconceived beliefs) it doesn’t mean that the evidence isn’t there.

          • Maggot

            I say “non-believers” also choose to; distort evidence, misrepresent facts and omit information in order to force-fit the observable world around their preconceived beliefs.

            So basically: “I know you are, but what am I?” Lol

            I believe Joe Mama was merely suggesting that we look at both sides of the coin…history cannot be proven by science and must therefore be interpreted.

            The only reason you think this “coin” has two sides is because a parable was written long ago that you’ve been indoctrinated into believing is factually true, and now you’re desperately grasping at anything you think remotely authenticates it as such. Which is the exact opposite of scientific methodology. In science, when conclusions are drawn or theories are formulated, they are based upon empirical research and evidence, not the other way around. And don’t try to argue about “different interpretations of evidience” (a standard Flood/YEC/IDer’s mantra), when you know damn well that “believers” WILLFULLY misinterpret evidence so to “conclude” that it points one way, and one way only. On the contrary, said scientific theories and conclusions aren’t etched in stone. Continued research efforts actively tries to falsify them. If new information turns up, previous theories or conclusions are tweaked or revised, all in the name of increasing our knowledge. Scientists aren’t infallible, but they don’t willfully omit or ignore information that would disprove a theory or point in another direction. Yes there have been exceptions and occurances of fraud in the past, but that is rare; generally, unexpected information is welcomed, as the constant forward advancement knowledge is what is strived for, not the abject preservation of centuries-old folk tales.

            Your preconceived belief is that the Bible is untrue and any alternative to the Bible must therefore be correct.

            It doesn’t matter what my alleged preconcieved belief is. We’re talking about science. Science doesn’t start from a position of “the Bible is untrue”. There is no “non-believing” agenda. There is no “we’ll take anything as long as it’s not the dreaded Bible” motivation. The Bible has no bearing at all, it’s a non-factor. Scientific research is done, evidence is studied, experiments are performed, etc., etc., and the chips fall where they fall.

            There is just as much evidence to support a Global Flood as there is to refute it.

            No there isn’t. The events described in the biblical flood story are physically and logistically impossible.

            Just because you choose to overlook this aspect (because it doesn’t fit in with your preconceived beliefs) it doesn’t mean that the evidence isn’t there.

            I’m not overlooking anything. Go on, trot out all the usual suspects.

  • vanowensbody

    Great list

  • HabenaroNinja

    “Afterwards, rapid global warming led to a phenomenal rise in sea levels”

    Wait what? Global warming is a naturally occurring global/solar cycle repeated throughout global history? I thought it was caused by my work commute?

    • Bullamakanka

      If you have a catalytic converter on your car, you’re off the hook.

  • gav

    So….what’s the problem? I really don’t see moving as an option as any other planet capable of supporting life will probably have the same kind of threats. Hell, the only reason we freak out over floods, volcanoes and tornadoes is because we exist in the areas affected. Take out the human equation and it’s really not that bad.

  • DiscHuker

    (I mean this as an honest question as I simply don’t know too much of what happens in the world unless it is big news)

    Does the rest of the world, outside of America, experience tornados? I have been through several and in the last month they have been destroying the south-east and mid-west of our land. But I can’t recall ever hearing a story about a tornado in another country.

    • mom424

      We get them too – many in the Prairies, naturally, but we also get a few here in Ontario every summer. Nothing on the scale of you folks – we’ve not quite the huge flat area that generates those giant storms. Although that is changing – we’re experiencing much greater extremes in weather lately. Higher winds, more T-storms and tornadoes, warmer winters (we even get T-storms in winter now -wtf?).

      Here’s hoping you keep safe. Friggin’ scary.

      • us too our winter in S Africa seem colder and its raining longer and longer into the dry season (highveld its winter) ,its the coldest day of the year so far here (12 C) but their is still the threat of moisture (also T storms which is generally a big characteristic of our highveld summers only). Its mainly the old timers who really notice a difference but I see it too.

        • QMario

          Ja us Saffers clearly weren’t built for cold, I live in Centurion and this morning we had some other kind of cold wind blowing, I was fairly sure at a stage that my face was on fire. Didn’t stop me playing soccer barefoot though.
          By the way just thought I would chip in with my little piece of knowledge for the day, the fires that spread like… well wildfire that day after the quake didn’t go completely unnoticed by the rest of the world, during WW2 the Americans remembered how quickly the fires spread. This is where they got the idea of firebombing Tokyo.

    • Auburn Tiger

      There are tornadoes the world over (in the right places). We just don’t hear about them in the same way ours seldom make international news. I rarely had to worry about tornadoes growing up in Georgia, but I live 100 miles west in Auburn now and I now understand how scary tornadoes are. I hope I never have to deal with one.

  • mom424

    Great list; very interesting and well presented.

    I would argue that Humanity Almost Obliterated should be changed to Humanity Saved by Mother Nature. At the time of this genetic pinching off we were but one of many hominid creatures – climatic upheaval thinned the herd. Only those best able to quickly adapt survived. And survive we did – with an entire near-empty planet at our disposal – how could we not?

  • Kokolo

    More please.

  • Armadillotron

    Pompeii? and out of Mankind and Mother Nature, who`d win? The Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina vs Nuclear Bombs and Bio-weapons, which is the Baddest?

  • kame

    Mother nature does what needs to be done. That is why call it nature.

  • Lifeschool

    Really good list, well thought out and presented in a light-hearted yet in depth manner – almost like high school Geography books. Plenty of figures to blow the imagination, and not too much bias either. Ok, so the guy has theories about the biblical tales; I can live with that. These things are always going to be debated anyhow.

    I went though a period of being very scared that something ‘bad’ was about to happen at any moment – what with the likes of asteroids, comets, polar shifts, solar flairs, erruptions, black holes, supernovae, moon orbit shifts, ice ages, holes in the ozone layer, nukes, drought, pestilance (or pesticides!); I could go on and on. If it isn’t Man mucking it up – it’s the solar system, the ecosystem or some other ‘system’ doing the dirty on us. In fact the chances of life actually existing on this planet AT ALL are millions to 1. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Thankfully we’ll have another list tomorrow to take our minds off it. 10 interesting facts about worms or something…

  • Jimbo

    Well had they fed virgin sacrifices to these volcanoes, none of this would have happened. Deadly sinners.

  • Ouch!

  • Spaz

    Since the Earth has Ice Ages then shouldn’t it also have “heat ages”. I believe that climate change is natural. Also, who are we to say that these are disasters. Some of these “disasters” have created beautiful scenery. The land always recovers. Mother nature has been around a long time and just wants to see changes now and then.

    • Blue

      This is why the layperson does not understand climate change.

      It is true that climate change is cyclical and relies on certain parameters such as the Earth’s tilt and various other factors. The problem is that this does not account for the climate changes since the start of the industrial revolution or more immediately the expansion of fossil fuel burning in the last 100 years.

      No scientist will state that the Earth does not have a cyclical climate, however the vast majority (at least 98% of scientists) understand that we are changing our climate by adding gases such as Carbon Dioxide and Sulphuric Oxide to the atmosphere with our chemical reactions needed for our energy and transport needs.

      It is not that the climate does not change, it is the absolute fact that we are changing the climate at a measurable rate that is the basis for climate change theories.

      Climate change is extremely gradual in the natural cycle, so gradual as to be almost indistinguishable. The fact that we can measure the changes over the last 100 years proves conclusively that we are changing our climate and heating the Earth up.

      Dont listen to the people spouting anti-climate change theory, this is a band of people who do not understand the nature of climate change and you have proven that with your thoughts regarding cyclical climate change, this is wholly different to the climate debate which is that our burning of fossil fuels is having an increasingly measurable affect on our climate.

      • Spaz

        Please excuse my ignorance. I forgot that scientist are right 100% of the time and that the majority are right. There is no way that you know that 98% of scientist believe that humans are affecting our climate change significantly. It is a hot topic which the media will not give equal converage to both sides so it is perceive as the media wills. The “God” of climate change knowledge, Al Gore, is a good reason in itself to question it. As a trial lawyer and a politician he can spin anything.

        • Blue

          Just read that and then go and do some real research and you will see exactly how many scientists are dissenters.

          I dont often use Wiki for anything but the links contained herein are thoroughly researched.

          Obviously this proves my point beyond a shadow of a doubt and there are more polls available if you just do the research.

      • alright

        Blue, you don’t have to PMS whenever someone doesn’t waste their time on this subject. By the way, I noticed you said layperson. Isn’t it layman? On that note, where is the next PC list??

        • kim

          And you don’t have to assume that his/her efforts of clarifying must be the direct result of pms……

  • mordechaimordechai

    like the fact that you saved the worst for the future. i see no need to worry. personally the future doesn’t bother me at all.

  • BryanJ

    Nice list. I would have liked to see some modern events highlighted, like the Japan earthquake.

  • Bullamakanka

    Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods… Nothing compared to the wrath of swiftly moving fruit (currants, #8)! What next, killer tomatoes?

    (j/k, nice list)

  • H.T

    Okay… Now this is scary :O

  • Great list, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    There’s some crazy scary stuff on here. As terrifying as the past was, I find the notion of the future far more chilling.


    Does anyone want to buy a “I Survived the Rapture – 2011” shirt? We also have coffee mugs.

  • TheSwamper

    Well, if it happens I’d rather be at ground zero and enjoy the cool light show rather than 20 or 50 miles out and slowly die.
    Fun list though!!!

  • turk

    Yup it just seems like a matter of time before it all comes crashing down around us. I mean come on, we are hurling though space at thousands of kilometers an hour on a tiny rock that seems to have a habit of purgeing itself of most of the life on it ever so often. just makes you want to throw your arms up in the air and go WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Now, where can I pick up my suveneir (I have no idea how to spell that) photo!

  • Interesting list, even though I knew about most of them already. It is nice to see someone else’s take on which events are of sufficient import to include.

    I have a sort of relationship to Krakatoa. My Australian Grandmother actually heard the Krakatoa explosion, but no one knew what it was. She told us that people in the streets fell to their knees and began to pray, thinking it might be heralding the end of the world (to be perfectly honest here, she thought that the end of the world was being heralded whenever a great geological event occurred).

  • Shirokuma

    Like the list, especially the wise decision not to include recent events which would make it boring and predictable.

    Also a nice last touch with the “Future” entry.

    My only criticism: Your title (“Terrible acts[…]”) reminds me painfully of that recently interviewed American: “We’ve been ATTACKED! Attacked by NATURE!” (Coming up next: War against Nature..)

    • Lifeschool

      That is such a good point. – or at least funny. :)

  • Woyzeck

    Mommy Nature Dearest.

  • Juan

    hey the worst earthquake was in Valdivia, Chile 9.5

    and that was a real mess, drowned one of the biggest cities of Chile in that time; matter of fact a new city was build near. If you are near of Valdivia (the new) you can take a submarine tour, to the old city

    • Karen

      Ahmm, the aqua ducks (aquaducts, that is) were also important to bring dniknirg water and sanitation to the city. In fact, it was a favorite Roman habit to steal duct (the equivalent of stealing cable today), so much so that the Emperor Nerva had to appoint a Water General to track down the illegal ducts, because the baths and fountains started to dwindle.

  • Jawa

    large scale global cooling and warming at natural levels are generally caused by the Milankovitch cycles. Theoretically the earth should be cooling due to these cycles. But for some reason, its heating up(fancy that climate change deniers). Global cooling is typically based off of the ridiculous theory that The Day After Tomorrow used as a plot device, the shut down of the thermohaline circulation. This is an absurd theory, while it could be disrupted, its accepted by the vast majority of climatologist as something that won’t happen.

  • circlefan

    moral lesson? the kids should behave so mommy wont get angry…

  • Zoe

    thank you, listverse, for deppresing me even more.

  • Ricky

    This is a nice list very interesting :)

  • prabha

    dear mother nature,
    once again i’m sory

  • Apocrief

    Don’t be panic, my friends.

    Supervolcano Lake Toba… Eruption of Tambora… Eruption of Krakatoa… 2004 Earthquake and tsunami in Sumatra… Yeah, here in Indonesia it happens all the time…

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    A year without summer would be sweet. It’s too fucking hot.

  • Filipe Oliveira

    For all I read none of these are terrible acts of mother nature, In fact trying to claim by any measure of intelligence that natural occurrences, of which some we as a race have committed far more unspeakable acts is absolutely freaking ridiculous.

    The tittle should be reconsidered and the implication that any of this is terrible, should be removed.

    It reminds me a bit of propaganda meant to propagate amidst ignorant people or people living in fear or oppression, the idea that blame must be attributed to something other, yet while factual calling it terrible is not even acceptable.

    The humanizing of the planet as if its a woman on pms or any other equally tasteless comment or paragraph is not even slightly educational.

    And 94 people commented on this and its a top post on wordpress?

    I’m besides myself at the ignorance of humanity and ashamed to be part of it.

    Which brings me to the conclusion, The whole planet should just blow up in a way human life would cease to exist forever.

    • You’re just a ray of sunshine, now aren’t you?

      Definition of terrible:

      1. distressing; severe: a terrible winter.

      2. extremely bad; horrible: terrible coffee; a terrible movie.

      3. exciting terror, awe, or great fear; dreadful; awful

      Step one:

      Look at entry number 1.

      Step two:

      Reexamine the list.

      Step three:

      Acknowledge your own ignorance.

      Step four [on going:]

      Keep it to yourself.

    • DP

      Don’t take yourself too seriously Filipe, you might not get out alive.

      The Mother Nature PMS comments were probably made in jest, not on the conclusions of any significant scientific voyage or quest to quantify and define the meaning of life. Just a little thing called sleazy humor, not a indicator of blatant ignorance.

      If human kind is so terrible, go hide under a rock. You clearly don’t think its all that bad, you wouldn’t be taking full advantage of technological marvels if you did. (You’re ranting through digital mediums allowing you to communicate globally from your living room… or from under your rock?). Pretty impressive if you ask me.

      Sure we don’t always get it right, Stalin single-handedly led the extermination of anywhere between 10-60 million people, depending who you listen to. I’d say we’re a lot like ‘mother nature.’ Beautiful and awe-inspiring most of the time, but we sure do have a nasty streak once in a while.

  • Great list? ok..

  • Khris

    Good list,
    but it really misses the Laki eruption from 1783/84 which is thought to be the deadliest volcanic eruption in recorded history with over 6 million people killed directly or indirectly and which among other things worsened the conditions in France so much that shortly after the french revolusion happend.

  • What most people don’t know is that after the great Kanto earthquake, rumors against ethnic minority spread like wildfire and they ended up massacring thousands of Koreans and hundreds of Chinese to add to the death toll. :(

    Mother nature ruffles up the feather, and humanity does the rest…

  • nic

    Glacial Cooling?sounds like “the day after tomorrow”..

  • freshcereal

    you actually had to mention 2012 didnt ya, god why cant we just get that day over and done with already and move one

    • MeDan

      They’re already predicting the most massive solar storms n 150 years for early 2013. It never ends.

  • Pushpa

    Lovely photos. I do think it’s worth rtnelceifg on the aesthetics of this event. People have been disrupted from their plans and it provides a chance to think about how we as people experience and act on the earth (enjoying Kew Gardens on a plane free day). Especially as it’s causing relatively minor problems, at least compared to the last time I remember quiet skies Sept 11th.Did you see of the volcano and Aurora Borealis against backdrop? Very Phillip Pullman.