The act of destroying a pool requires data to be written to disk to indicate that the pool is no longer valid. This state information prevents the devices from showing up as a potential pool when you perform an import. If one or more devices are unavailable, the pool can still be destroyed. However, the necessary state information won't be written to these unavailable devices.
These devices, when suitably repaired, are reported as potentially active when you create a new pool. They appear as valid devices when you search for pools to import. If a pool has enough faulted devices such that the pool itself is faulted (meaning that a top-level virtual device is faulted), then the command prints a warning and cannot complete without the -f option. This option is necessary because the pool cannot be opened, so whether data is stored there is unknown. For example:
# zpool destroy tank cannot destroy 'tank': pool is faulted use '-f' to force destruction anyway # zpool destroy -f tank
For more information about pool and device health, see Determining the Health Status of ZFS Storage Pools.
For more information about importing pools, see Importing ZFS Storage Pools.