Tradition speaks of cyclic cataclysms visiting the Earth. For example, the story of Atlantis in Plato's Timeus clearly mentions repeating, global, civilization-destroying cataclysms, sometimes by fire, sometimes by water.
Fulcanelli speaks of cyclic cataclysms in the Mystery of the Cathedrals, specially in the context of the Cyclic Cross of Hendaye.
The world of myth has a repeating theme of cataclysm and loss of an Edenic state.
The ice core and geological records, tree ring records and other evidence indicate periodic disruptions, possibly volcanic, possibly due to asteroid or comet impact from space. Besides, an impact may trigger volcanic activity. Genetic analysis of populations shows strong local founder effects, suggesting that many people would have sprung from very few, indirectly evidencing vast fluctuations of population.
It is clear that cataclysms occur at very different scales. It Is also clear that the stories get mixed and combined in the retelling. Thus Noah's flood, for example may be a collation of many floods.