Upheaval means a violent or sudden change. You might talk about an upheaval in government following an election where many incumbents are replaced.
Upheaval is a geological term for the upward displacement of the earth's crust that has stretched to include a change in power or ideas. If you suddenly found out your favorite teacher was running a pyramid scheme and had escaped to a Caribbean island, you might experience an upheaval in your attitude toward teachers in general.
Primary Meanings of upheaval
a violent disturbance
(geology) a rise of land to a higher elevation (as in the process of mountain building)
n a violent disturbance
n a state of violent disturbance and disorder (as in politics or social conditions generally)
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agitation, ferment, fermentation, tempestuousness, unrest
a state of agitation or turbulent change or development
anything characterized by abrupt and extreme changes (especially up and down)
a turbulent state resulting in injuries and destruction etc.
violent state of the elements
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a disturbance of the peace or of public order