The carnage started in the emerging markets. Highly-leveraged positions and carry trades began to unwind. That's a fancy way of saying that all the big, sophisticated investors -- who were busy borrowing heavily in countries with cheap money (the US, Japan, and Europe) and using that debt to speculate in markets offering higher yields (junk debt, emerging markets, stocks, etc.) -- began to reverse their trades.
It quickly devolved into a "Sell everything!" scramble. We saw the dollar spike and stocks fall -- with emerging markets taking the full brunt of the carnage as their stock markets rapidly fell into bear territory, their currencies fell, and their bonds were destroyed.
Very early one morning in February of 2016 everything U-turned and rocketed higher. Suddenly and magically, the panic was over. This wasn't the invisible hand of the market at work; it was the very-visible hand of central bank intervention.