cataclysm

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cataclysm

1. a disastrous flood; deluge
2. Geology another name for catastrophe
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

cataclysm

a major physical and/or social upheaval that disrupts a previous ecological and/or social order to such an extent as to lead to the extinction of species and/or the elimination of a society. For example, it has been suggested that rather than merely endogenous social factors, forces such as climatic change (e.g. from volcanic eruption, meteorites) and/or epidemic diseases may have been responsible for periodic cataclysmic changes in social life. Such events as these, it has been suggested, may be behind the collapse of some South American societies and the replacement of feudal by capitalist society
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
In German schools today, the Holocaust is taught, and it is presented as a cataclysmal mistake.
Our moral obligation to stick to the safe emission budget (3) and thus to prevent dangerous climate change, rests on two arguments: the potentially cataclysmal consequences of climate change and the low costs of a second-order error.
Therefore he concluded the sandstone layers as well as the underlying coal deposit were likely to have formed during a rapid cataclysmal event.