An automobile lies crushed under the third story of this apartment building in the Marina District, California, from the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
Misguided interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar have led to rumors of the world ending tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 21. Some doomsayers believe a rogue planet will crash into Earth, or that a solar storm will spell total destruction. Others think the planets and the sun will align to cause cataclysmic tidal effects, or that the North and South Poles will suddenly and catastrophically trade places.
These scenarios have been exhaustively debunked by scientists. In fact, NASA has already issued a press release dated Dec. 22 and titled "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday." The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), meanwhile, has its own message: Flimsy apocalyptic forecasts aside, the Earth still has a fearsome capacity to generate natural disasters on any day of any year.
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