Factual error: In the poster shot and in the film, the wave from the Atlantic carrying the carrier JFK into a collision with the White House comes crashing in from the west because the south portico of the White House is seen. The Atlantic Ocean is east of Washington, so the wave should come from the other direction. And even a wave coming from the east could not have made the JFK (CV-67) crash into the White House because the carrier has been retired in 2005 and is berthed in Philadelphia, which is northeast of Washington DC.
Factual error: The astrophysicists talk about the solar neutrinos "mutating" into new particles. This is pure pseudoscientific nonsense- there are only three possible types of neutrino, none of which interact with normal matter to any significant effect. Neutrinos regularly switch between these types. Also, particles don't "mutate", which is a genetic change. No physicist would use this term.
Factual error: About an hour into the movie the plane with our heroes in it is being chased by a pyroclastic flow from the Yellowstone eruption. The flow at one point fully overtakes the plane. A pyroclastic flow is comprised of hot gas and rock sometimes over 1000° Celsius. It not just dust and smoke. The plane would have been ripped apart by both the temperature and the fast flying rocks. Instead it came out of the flow without a scratch.
Revealing mistake: The scene of rioting in the UK features a load of police officers running through a crowd. All the officers shown are wearing black tunics and custodian helmets worn with chinstraps. This is obviously old stock footage from a protest in the 80's or early 90's as nowadays, (and especially in 2012) the tunic has not been worn as general wear for well over 15 years, and Brit cops are now better equipped for protests with body armour, NATO helmets, flame retardant overalls, etc.
Factual error: Given that the main characters are from southern California, it is unreasonable to believe that a father and his two children would drive the 1000 miles one way to spend a weekend camping in Yellowstone National Park, nor would they be able to return home in only a few hours, following the call from the mother.
Factual error: It's stated after the Yellowstone Caldera explodes that the Ash Cloud would hit Las Vegas first, then St. Louis, Chicago and so on. We see Jackson and his family land in Vegas, then the action moves to D.C., where we learn the V.P.'s chopper goes down in the ash cloud in Pittsburgh. A pyroclastic cloud that we see moves at 450mph. It would reach Vegas long before it reaches Pittsburgh. Vegas would have been long gone before Jackson and family could reach it.
Plot hole: During the later parts of this movie there is much talk about 'continental displacement' and this appears to be happening in the film. The Earth's crust is falling apart because of the heating of the inner core, and all the cities seems to be falling apart since the ground can no longer hold them. When our cast finds themselves surprised to be already over China when they figured to be over the ocean, it is explained that Asia has actually moved from where it was. If this phenomenon is taking place globally, how come the monks in China don't seem to have been disturbed at all? In fact the bell the monk rings as the ocean approaches hasn't even been shaken. The arks are built in between the mountains, but the mountains are apparently fine. Shouldn't they be falling like the rest of the crust?
Factual error: American officials, including the president himself, continually refer to the other G8 leaders as "heads of state." They are, in fact, heads of government. The United States is the only G8 country which combines the head of state and head of government into a single position. The others have a separate prime minister (or chancellor in Germany) and president (or sovereign in the UK, Canada and Japan). No American official is likely to make this mistake in reality. The head of government of Italy is appointed as "Prime Minister" also in the Italian version; actually the correct wording should be "President of the Council of Ministers"
Factual error: Air Force One is still complete when it strikes Ark 4 which is simply not possible. The aircraft would have been obliterated by the air pressure wave and the resulting huge tidal wave that hit it, so that only debris would have hit the Ark, certainly not the complete intact aircraft we saw.
Audio problem: An early scene in the movie has Chinese soldiers recruiting Tibetans to work on a secret project which they are told is a dam. As the scene ends, the sound of explosives draws everyone's eyes towards the mountains, where the explosions can be seen several miles in the distance. The sight and sound of these explosions take place simultaneously. Sound travels much slower than light. In reality, there should have been some delay before the sound of the explosions was heard.
Add timeBruce Trestrail
Other mistake: When the monk arrives with Jackson and the others at the gate leading into the secret entrance of the ships, the countdown to impact timer reads about 28 minutes. It is highly implausible that the group, which contains elderly and small children, are able to get to the top of what looks to be a 100 story staircase in less than 15 minutes without breaking a sweat. Once they are inside the hatch, the countdown to impact timer reads about 13 minutes.
Continuity mistake: When the decision to open the gates to let everyone in is made, the countdown is at 15 minutes. When the gate is fully lowered and people start running in, the timer is at 4 minutes. How can they get all the thousands of people on and raise the gates in 4 minutes? It took 11 minutes to go down and 30 seconds to get back up.
Factual error: In the supermarket scene, we can see that the parking lot's pavement and the store's floor starts to rip apart. The amount of energy needed for that to happen would have caused a major earthquake that everybody in the store would have noticed way before the main dialog between the characters begins.