• Entertainment

The Most Idiotic Bad-Science Moments in Disaster Movies

List RulesOnly disaster movie science -- geology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, etc.

Hollywood has no time for science! It's too slow/too fast, too dangerous/too benign, and mostly too complicated to be bothered with on the big screen. Disaster movies are the worst offenders of them all.

If you have your fave bad-science moments in any disaster film at all, add it! I want more! MORE! 
  • 5
    426 VOTES

    An Ice Age Can Happen in 3 Days

    It seems unbelievable, but even the "surprise" style of climate change occurs over years, not weeks. Yeah, even cataclysmic climate change. Sure, about 8,200 years ago the ice sheet covering most of NE Canada collapsed, dumping tons of melted ice (also known as water) into the North Atlantic over the span of a couple months. This caused the Thermohaline circulation to shut down, which started a 400-year-long dip in global temperatures. So, note the word "months" there. The example above is considered "quick" in Geologic terms.
    Is this remarkably bad science?
  • 6
    367 VOTES

    There Are Caves in the Earth's Mantle

    Photo: Kelvinsong / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Let's talk about caves. When you get below the Earth's crust, you are going to be harder and harder "pressed" (haha, I crack myself up) to find a open spot to build a nice underground summer home. Why? Well, the deeper you go, the greater the density of the rocks because of the increase in pressure. 3.5 million times the pressure at the Earth's surface, by the way. And, notably, at the interface between the inner and outer core, iron solidifies despite the fact that the temps are 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    Pesky science fact: increase in pressure increases any substance's melting point. You might want to look elsewhere for these "open spaces in the mantle" to put your magic The Core ship in.

    Is this remarkably bad science?
  • 7
    713 VOTES

    You Can Miss An Approaching Asteroid the Size of Texas

    Ceres is a real asteroid... well, I guess it's technically a dwarf planetoid. It's also the largest asteroid in our asteroid belt. It's big enough that you can actually see it with your naked eye if you know where to look and there's not too much ambient light where you're standing. Ceres is 900km across and this new, never-before-seen asteroid in Armageddon is supposedly the size of Texas. That's 1600km. in case you don't carry that kind of info around with you. 

    So. The movie says that it's about 18 days away, which puts it closer to Earth than Ceres is in real life. It's both closer and bigger than the asteroid we can already see without a telescope. The math says that it would be 3-4,000 times brighter than Ceres. The MOVIE, on the other hand, says that only 15 telescopes in the world could have spotted something that anyone who wasn't completely blind and not wearing a neck brace could have seen for themselves. 

    Right there. Up in the sky. Any time someone looked up.
    Is this remarkably bad science?
  • 8
    614 VOTES

    Pyroclastic Clouds Just Aren't That Fast

    Photo: C.G. Newhall / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Look out! There's a super-heated, dense, gas and ash cloud that can reach up to 1,900 Fahrenheit headed your way. 

    Don't worry... take your time to gawk at it because you can totally get away in time. It can only travel at about 450 miles per hour. So any old RV or beat-up pickup truck can do that, easy. Or, you know, you can probably make it on foot if you're carrying an injured friend or relative. You'll be fine. 

    Maybe there's a rock or something you can get behind?
    Is this remarkably bad science?