10 most powerful cataclysms in the history of the Earth

(ORDO NEWS) — Sometimes we look at the sky in horror or listen to the ground, waiting for a giant meteorite to fall or a supervolcano to erupt.

Such cataclysms threaten to forever change the world or even wipe humanity off the face of the Earth.

However, if they had not happened in the past, the planet would have looked very different, and it is not known what our life would be like today. Consider the most illustrative examples of cataclysms of the past and present.

1- Outburst of Lake Agassiz, North America. 14,500 years ago, when the last of the ice ages was coming to an end, a huge periglacial lake formed on the border of the Laurentian ice sheet.

Agassiz was close in size to the Black Sea, but was completely freshwater. At some point, the glacial dam holding back the water column collapsed, and one of the largest floods in the history of the Earth occurred.

The waters of Agassiz flooded into the Arctic Ocean, weakening the circulation of warm water from the Atlantic and plunging the entire region into a new ice age for the next 1200 years.

Perhaps it was because of this that many representatives of the megafauna of North America died out, and the Clovis culture was also destroyed.

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2- Outpouring of the Siberian traps, Central Russia. 252 million years ago, the Earth was very different. The continents had not yet had time to disperse, forming the supercontinent Pangea, but life in the sea and on land was rapidly developing.

Until a powerful eruption of a supervolcano began in the north of Pangea, where Siberia is now located. The volume of spilled lava amounted to more than 5 million cubic kilometers in an area commensurate with the modern United States.

The Permian mass extinction began, during which 70% of terrestrial and 96% of marine vertebrate species disappeared. The frozen lava formed the Siberian traps.

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3- Sturegg landslide, Norwegian Sea. About 8,000 years ago, 100 kilometers off the coast of Norway, a piece of land the size of Iceland broke away from the continental shelf and slid into the depths of the Norwegian Sea.

This was most likely caused by a series of earthquakes, as well as the release of large amounts of methane due to the decomposition of gas hydrates. Traces of the tsunami that followed the landslide are today found 80 km deep into the Scottish coast.

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4- Eruption of Laki, Iceland. Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions on the planet. In 1783, there was a double eruption of the volcano Laki and Grimsvotna with the release of 15 cubic kilometers of basalt lava and a lava flow that flooded an area of ​​565 km.

From poisonous gases, half of the livestock in Iceland, almost all birds and fish, died. The ensuing famine claimed about 10,000 islanders. The ash spread over Europe, blocking sunlight and causing more crop failures and famine.

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5- Massive tornadoes in 2011, USA. The United States is no stranger to tornadoes, but 2011 was a special year. The so-called “tornado alley” (the area between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians) was hit by 362 tornadoes between April 25 and 28!

Four of them were rated EF5, the highest category on the Enhanced Fujita scale, and typically only happen once a year. 348 people died, 2,300 were injured, and property damage amounted to about $11 billion.

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6- Spanish flu epidemic, all over the world. Not all natural disasters are associated with earthquakes and hurricanes.

The Spanish flu pandemic, which broke out in the final months of World War I, affected about 550 million people across the globe. About 100 million died – 5.3% of the world’s population.

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7- The final breakthrough of Agassiz and the Black Sea flood, Eastern Europe. The breakthrough of Lake Agassiz caused a new period of cooling, which led to the strengthening of the ice sheet.

After 1200 years, the region warmed up again, and the lake was restored to its former boundaries, merging with another large lake – Ojibway.

However, not for long, and soon there was a new breakthrough – this time into Hudson Bay. The ensuing cooling lasted only 150 years, but affected a large area.

The sea level has risen by almost 4 meters and there have been major floods all over the world. This was especially noticeable in the Black Sea, which was originally only a deep freshwater lake.

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8- Zancle Flood, Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean Sea was also once a lake – about 5.6 million years ago, the African and Eurasian tectonic plates approached and collided, cutting off the reservoir from the Atlantic Ocean.

Over the next hundreds of thousands of years, the Mediterranean lake evaporated, and the winds carried salt deposits across the surrounding lands.

And yet, after 300 thousand years, the Atlantic waters made their way through Gibraltar and filled 90% of the former volume of the Mediterranean Sea. This took from several months to two years, and this event is known as the Zancle Flood.

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9- Drought in Northern China, 1876-1879. Due to the consequences of the end of the Little Ice Age, a drought of incredible proportions occurred in northern China at the end of the 19th century.

For three years, not a single drop of rain fell on the earth, which caused a famine that killed 13 million people out of 108 million people in the country.

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10- Collision of Earth and Theia. This event refers to hypotheses, but highly probable. About 100 million years after its formation, Earth collided with another newly formed planet, Theia, about the size of Mars. The force of the impact merged the two planets together, and the fragments of Theia formed the Moon.

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