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Watch Unfortunately, estimating the power of prehistoric hurricanes using the geological record is too imprecise at present, so instead let’s look at the most powerful hurricane (or “typhoon” or “tropical cyclone”) in human history.
One candidate is considered to be Typhoon Haiyan, which made landfall in the Philippines in 2013 with winds of up to 314 kilometers per hour (195 miles per hour). In the Western Hemisphere, the most powerful is often thought to be Hurricane Patricia, which slammed into western Mexico in 2015 with winds peaking at 325 kilometers per hour (202 miles per hour).
Although Patricia wins this round, Weather Underground points out that Super Typhoon Nancy in 1961, with 346 kilometers per hour (215 miles per hour) peak wind speeds, still holds the all-time record – but how does this translate to power? One estimate by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calculates that the average unleashes 600 trillion joules per second in energy in cloud/rain formation alone, with an additional 1.5 trillion being released as kinetic energy in its powerful winds.
These three hurricanes, therefore, had powers at least equivalent to several hundreds of trillion joules per second,
Destructive and powerful of this world, How much it is !
which is a heck of a lot. In fact, the average hurricane produces energy equivalent to perhaps thousands of trillions of lightning strikes per second.
The first took place around 600-542 million years ago, when complex life on Earth suddenly diversified and appeared in the fossil record.
Known as the Cambrian Explosion, it is commonly thought to be the time period wherein complex life began to take over the world. Scientists have recently become aware that an even more ancient zoological band of enigmatic lifeforms, the “Ediacaran biota”, also existed prior to this date, and they disappeared from the fossil record when the Cambrian Explosion took place.
Although limited fossil evidence makes it hard to know for sure, it appears that this biological switchover wiped out the Ediacarans simply because the new kids on the block outcompeted them. Overall, scientists think that this mass extinction event was more deadly than the end-Cretaceous, but not quite as bad as the Great Dying.
The hypothetical eighth mass extinction may be the worst of all, though. When primitive photosynthetic algae converted the world’s ancient atmosphere into an oxygen-rich one 2.4 billion years ago, they thrived. However, the world was covered in microorganisms that didn’t need oxygen at the time – in fact, to them, it was a poison.
So although this is known as the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) – something ultimately giving life to everything we can see living around us today – it is also referred to as the Oxygen Catastrophe, as it wiped out almost all other life on Earth at the same time. Although we will likely never be able to quantify how much life it killed off, it’s likely that it was the greatest mass extinction of them all.