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Catastrophism, at the barest level, is a hypothesis that holds catastrophic events, such as impacts between asteroidal, cometary, or planetary bodies and the Earth, are responsible for the geologic and biologic formation of the planet as it is today, as well as the re-shaping of human culture and history, and, in some forms, asserts that accounts of these events may be found in ancient religious texts, as per the example of the Great Flood described in various world traditions (or the sinking of supposed lost continents, such as Atlantis, Kumari Kandam, Lemuria, or Mu). The term "catastrophism" should not be taken to refer to a particular theory or understanding, so much as it encompasses many disparate hypotheses that principally argue catastrophic events are the principal cause and originating point for further global (and local) developments.


Author Hypothesis (in Summary) Primary Text
William Whiston Cometary impacts A New Theory of the Earth, 1696, 
Ignatius Donnelly Cometary impact, c. 10000 BC Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, 1883, 
William Comyns Beaumont The movement of Saturn caused the Noachian Deluge, etc. The Mysterious Comet: Or the Origin, Building up, and Destruction of Worlds, By Means of Cometary Contacts, 1932 
Hugh Auchincloss Brown Regular planetary axial shift caused by the accumulation of polar ice Popular Awakening Concerning the Impending Flood, 1948 
Immanuel Velikovsky Changes to the orbit and axis of Earth caused by a near collision with the planet Venus after it's ejection from Jupiter Worlds in Collision, 1950, 
Adam D. Barber Axial shift causing a global flood and other disasters The Coming Disaster Worse than the H-Bomb, 1954, 
Charles H. Hapgood Earth Crust Displacement Earth's Shifting Crust: A Key to Some Basic Problems of Earth Science, 1958, 
Chan Thomas Periodic crossing of galactic "null zones" provokes shifts in Earth's electromagnetic fields, increasing the viscosity of the crust, causing rapid drift The Adam and Eve Story: The History of Cataclysms, 1965, 1993, 
Stanislav Szukalski A global deluge posited in his grander theory of Zermatism "I CLAIM THE WORLD!" (unpub.)