When Was the First Tornado?

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Tornadoes have almost certainly existed on Earth for as long as the planet has had an atmosphere. A tornado is a spinning whirlwind of air that can achieve internal speeds between 40 mph and 300 mph.

According to the University of Michigan, the early atmosphere of the Earth formed after the primordial hydrogen was lost to space during the Earth’s formation nearly 5 billion years ago. This was a period of heavy volcanism, and the first native atmosphere the Earth developed would have been composed primarily of gases expelled by volcanoes. It’s all but certain this water vapor-carbon dioxide atmosphere would have hosted cyclonic storms and tornadoes.