Power systems are the most complex systems and have great importance in modern life. They have direct impacts on the modernization, economic, political and social aspects. To operate such systems in a stable mode, several control and protection techniques are required. However, modern systems are equipped with several protection schemes with the aim of avoiding the unpredicted events and power outages, power systems are still encountering emergency and mal-operation situations. The most severe emergencies put the whole or at least a part of the system in danger. If the emergency is not well managed, the power system is likely to have cascading failures that might lead to a blackout. Due to the consequences, many countries around the world have research and expert teams who work to avoid blackouts on their systems. In this paper, a comprehensive review on the major blackouts and cascading events that have occurred in the last decade are introduced. A particular focus is given on the US power system outages and their causes since it is one of the leading power producers in the world and it is also due to the ready availability of data for the past events. The paper also highlights the root causes of different blackouts around the globe. Furthermore, blackout and cascading analysis methods and the consequences of blackouts are surveyed. Moreover, the challenges in the existing protective schemes and research gaps in the topic of power system blackout and cascading events are marked out. Research directions and issues to be considered in future power system blackout studies are also proposed.
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