From a sputtering global economy to the largest oil spill in U.S. history, 2010 saw its share of gloom and doom -- which may be why the story of 33 miners in Chile captured the world's imagination.
10. ECONOMIC TURMOIL IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
With Greece and Ireland in danger of defaulting on their governments' debts, the countries drastically cut spending, raised taxes and received billions in bailout funds from the EU.
As cuts endure, Greece battles dissent | Ireland gets bailout
9. VOLCANO ERUPTS IN ICELAND
Clouds of ash from Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland disrupted air traffic throughout Europe and across the Atlantic for weeks.
Photos | Video | Eruption snarls air traffic | Explaining the cloud of ash
8. CONTROVERSY OVER MOSQUE IN NEW YORK CITY
Manhattan, and the nation, became embroiled in a controversy over a plan to build an Islamic center and mosque blocks from Ground Zero.
Photos | Video | NY's controversy becomes national political issue
7. U.S. WINDS DOWN IN IRAQ, SURGES IN AFGHANISTAN
The last American combat troops left Iraq on Aug. 19, 7 1/2 years after the U.S.-led invastion and two weeks ahead of President Barack Obama's Aug. 31 deadline. After a long-awaited review of U.S. policy, Obama deployed thousands more troops to Afghanistan in hopes of stabilizing the country ahead of a 2014 withdrawal.
Photos | Goodbye Iraq: Last US combat brigade heads home | No decisive victory after surge
6 . WIKILEAKS RELEASES SECRET GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS
Julian Assange's website shook up governments around the world after it released thousands of classified cables detailing U.S. diplomatic policies in at times candid -- and embarrassing -- terms.
Photos | Video | Obama administration fumes over WikiLeaks damage
5. AMERICAN FACE SCANS, PAT DOWNS AT AIRPORTS
Most travelers weren't happy with the choice of going through body scan machines or receiving thorough patdowns from Transportation Security Administration officials at the nation's airports after a cargo bomb plot was discovered.
Photos | Video | Passengers react at NY airports
4. 33 CHILEAN MINERS SAFELY RESCUED
The 33 men who survived 69 days underground after their mine near Copiapó, Chile collapsed became media darlings after their dramatic rescue. The miners received offers of free vacations, marriage proposals, lucrative book and movie deals and even an invitation to run the NYC marathon.
Photos | Video | All 33 miners free from Chile mine
3. ECONOMIC RECOVERY STALLS, OPENING DOOR TO TEA PARTY-FUELED GOP COMEBACK
In the midst of high unemployment and a staggering national deficit, Tea Party groups organized across the country with the support of Sarah Palin and other conservative politicians. The movement called for drastically lower taxes and massive cuts to government spending. The movement helped propel Republican candidates to major electoral gains around the country.
Republicans retake U.S. House in big night
2. EARTHQUAKE KILLS MORE THAN 200,000 IN HAITI
An 7.0-magnitude quake on Jan. 12 left hundreds of thousands dead and the island nation's infrastructure in ruins. Billions in relief aid poured in from around the world, but a deadly cholera epidemic in late November underscored the fragility of the country.
Photos | Video | Complete coverage
1. BLAST IN GULF OF MEXICO CAUSES MASSIVE OIL SPILL
On April 20, BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and causing months of oil leaking uncontrollably into the ocean. The spill, the worst in U.S. history, released an estimated 205 million gallons of oil into the Gulf and caused widespread ecological damage.
Photos | Complete coverage