in mathematics, refers to the theory on how continuous change (or action) in one variable could produce a discontinuous change (or result) in another variable. As such, even a small change or slight shift in one factor could cause a large and abrupt effect on the other, much like a landslide or avalanche would.

CATASTROPHE THEORY: "The catastrophe theory postulates that, at some point, the slightest shift in circumstances could cause a sudden, dramatic change."