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Doomsday: How Will the World End? When Will the World End?

Updated on April 3, 2012

Doomsday and end of the world - scenarios

As soon as man became intelligent enough to realize his own mortality, he broadened his scope to wonder about Doomsday and how the world will end. This isn’t an article about the end of the world in 2012. It’s not about the end of the world or a doomsday according to some religious nuts, either. Not that I have a problem with God. I believe in God, and I also believe in science. I don’t see the two beliefs as diametrically opposed. This article is meant to give readers something to think about: when will the world end, and how will the world end? Will the world as we know it just go on forever, or will it come to an end someday? Will there be some major apocalypse, and if so, what might this apocalypse be?

Nuclear war could mean the end of the world.
Nuclear war could mean the end of the world.


World War II was often touted as “the war to end all wars.” Of course, we know now that the term was a misnomer. Wars are still occurring on our planet, and mankind is getting better and more efficient with killing. We’ve “progressed” from stone clubs to nuclear warheads to biological and chemical warfare. If these modern marvels were to get out of hand, it could create a doomsday scenario.

I grew up in the sixties, when a nuclear attack from Russia was believed to be a real threat. We even had classes at school that instructed us on survival in case we were bombed. How many nuclear warheads are there now on Earth? As of June 2011, the number was believed to be around 20,500, worldwide, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Of course, that’s just an estimate. Most nations don’t reveal their nuclear secrets.

A single modern U.S. nuclear bomb is about eight times as destructive as the one dropped on Hiroshima. Consider that the U.S has more than 8,000 nuclear warheads, and Russia has even more. Mankind has enough nuclear power to bring about the end of the world.

 A large asteroid will hurl near Earth in the next decade.
A large asteroid will hurl near Earth in the next decade.

Will an asteroid cause the end of the world?

An asteroid’s collision with Earth is inevitable. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. It’s most likely what destroyed the dinosaurs over sixty million years ago. According to Perry A. Gerakines in Scientific American, a large asteroid collides with our planet about once every hundred million years. If that average holds true, and the last big asteroid hit Earth 65 million years ago, does that mean we’re due for another asteroid catastrophe soon? Of course, the key word here is “soon.”

If a mile-wide asteroid were to impact Earth at 30,000 mph, every life form on our planet would most likely be obliterated, causing an end of the world scenario. Such an asteroid would effectively be the same as a one million megaton bomb. Think this is just science fiction? Think again. An asteroid this size, 1997XF11, is projected to come dangerously close to our blue marble in 2028, which could mean an apocalypse..

Smaller asteroids could be devastating, too. Of course, they would wipe out any life for possibly hundreds of miles from the impact site, and they would also cause huge tidal waves and thick dust clouds that would effectively prevent the sun’s rays from reaching the earth. Depending how thick the dust clouds were, how vast they were, and how long they persisted, it’s possible that they could cause the end of the world.

Will humans survive as long as the sun?
Will humans survive as long as the sun?

Will the end of the world be caused by the sun's demise?

Without our sun, there would be no life on Earth, so it would mean the end of the world. And the Sun won’t last forever. According to Donald Brownlee, an astrophysicist, and Peter Ward, a paleontologist, the sun is brighter today than it was eons ago, and it’s getting even brighter. Brownlee explained to ABC News how our atmosphere has managed to make Earth’s temperatures relatively stable, in spite of the fact that the sun’s brightness has increased 30%:

It's amazing, but the Earth's systems have conspired to do this. As the sun has gotten brighter, the composition of the atmosphere has changed."

Brownlee goes on to explain that while global warming is a short-term concern, the bigger problem is going to be too little carbon dioxide:

In the short term, that's a big problem, but in the longer term, hundreds of millions of years, it’s a decline of carbon dioxide that’s really the major problem.”

Why will this be a problem? Because plants must have carbon dioxide in order to live, and when the plants die, animals will starve to death. As the sun brightens, grows, and gets hotter, it will become a red giant. Temperatures on our planet will increase so much that all the water on Earth will evaporate, and that includes seawater.

According to some scientists, including Yale University’s Sabatino Sofia, a solar physicist, our sun will eventually become a red supergiant. When that happens, it will explode, sending about 33% of its mass hurtling through space. The earth would be “swallowed up,” and the sun would die. Of course, we don’t have to worry about the world ending anytime soon because of a dying sun. It could, however, answer the question, “How will the world end?”

A global volcanic winter could cause the end of the world.
A global volcanic winter could cause the end of the world.

Will the apocalypse come about due to volcanic winter?

You’ve heard of nuclear winter, right? Volcanic winter is similar. It would have basically the same effect on Earth that a nuclear winter would have, but it would be created by a supervolcano. And yes, this has already happened. Indonesia’s Toba Volcano erupted some 70,000 years ago, creating a volcanic winter that lasted almost a decade. Many scientists believe that this incident, along with the ten centuries of cooling caused, drastically decreased the human population to around several thousand.

Sulfuric acid from a supervolcano could wipe out huge swaths of forests and other forms of vegetation, along with animal life. The extent of damage would depend on how large and powerful the eruption was. Even after the initial damage to localized areas, however, the resulting volcanic winter would be much more inclusive.

How would a volcanic winter affect our planet? Our atmosphere would be filled with sulfuric acid and volcanic ash, which would work in two ways to diminish the sun’s rays on Earth. The ash would effectively “block out” sunlight, and the drops of sulfuric acid would reflect solar radiation. This one-two punch could cause significant global cooling and result in drastic decreases in plant life. It could mean the end of the world – at least the end of the world as we know it.

A global pandemic could be the end of the world as we know it.
A global pandemic could be the end of the world as we know it.

World ending by man-made pandemic?

If you’ve ever seen or read The Stand, by Stephen King, you get the idea of what a global pandemic could do to the human population. With biological weapons practically in their infancy now, who knows what types of bugs can be created in a laboratory somewhere. If these viruses or bacteria are released, either accidentally or purposely, the results could be devastating. If some infectious agent was created by scientists with the purpose of killing, how could it be stopped?

This is especially true when you consider antibiotic resistance. Every year, bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics. A physician told me recently that this problem is more startling than most people realize.

The idea of the world ending because of a pandemic isn’t far-fetched. If antibiotics are currently having trouble defeating common bacteria like staph, strep, pseudomonas, E. coli, C. difficile, salmonella, and pneumonia, imagine how some superbug created by human intelligence could run rampant. Author King might not have been so far off, after all.

Contagion movie

Move over, Stephen King! A new movie about a global pandemic, Contagion, has just been released in the U.S. Contagion stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, and Kate Winslet. Directed by Stephen Soderbergh, Contagion is about a deadly virus that wreaks havoc on humanity.

Yes, Contagion is just a movie, but the scary part is that scientists, physicians, and vaccine experts have praised the film for its realism. Watch the video below to see what the famous Dr. Oz says about the Contagion movie.

A tsunami in the distant future might be our doomsday.
A tsunami in the distant future might be our doomsday.

Could a tsunami be the end of the world?

I saw a special on television that really piqued my curiosity about catastrophic tsunamis – especially those that could devastate the United States. Ever heard of La Palma? It’s a volcanic island in the Atlantic, off the coast of Africa, part of the Canary archipelago. La Palma covers over seven hundred square kilometers and includes the Cumbre Vieja volcano and ridge. The volcano is dormant right now, but it’s growing. As the volcano rises, the land around it becomes steeper and more unstable. There’s already a gap in the island that was caused by a 1949 eruption. So, what does that have to do with the end of the world as we know it?

Many scientists believe that if a large part of La Palma slides into the ocean, resulting in catastrophic tsunamis that could completely destroy much of the U.S. east coast and the Caribbean islands, along with cities on the coasts of Portugal, northern South America, and north Africa. Some models suggest that such a tsunami could be as tall as one-half mile, with subsequent waves reaching 160 feet in height.

How likely is this to happen? Scientists disagree, but new evidence supports the theory that it might take thousands of years. According to Delft University of Technology, a “perfect storm” would be required for a megatsunami, and even such a scenario is probably 10,000 years away. We won’t have to worry about the end of the world in this case for quite a long time.

HOW will the world end?

No one knows how the end of the world will come about – at least no human being has that knowledge. I don’t spend much time worrying about it, although I do find the topic fascinating. It’s hard for many of us to imagine a time on Earth when man wasn’t present, just as it’s difficult for us to picture the end of the world and the end of man’s reign. Maybe there won’t be some huge catastrophe. Maybe we’ll just slowly fade away...

“This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

From “The Hollow Men,” by T.S. Eliot

Dr. Oz on Contagion movie:


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    • cloudrider profile image


      8 years ago from Dallas, Tx


      Love It! I must say I'd rather be seen as crazy than dead. I'm headed for Oklahoma a few days prior to Christmas 2012. I don't know if it will or will not happen then. But at least I will be away from many of the issues that will come to be if a tsunami were to hit the coastal areas, away from the atomic issues that would affect the East Coast and I don't think there is anything in Oklahoma other than flatness LOL... Have you heard about the World Map of 2012? Great Hub!

    • iwansaptiko profile image


      8 years ago

      It will happen someday and somehow, thats what I believe. awesome hub, every scenario is fantastic. from my opinion the end of the world required all of your scenarios happen at the same time, plus some disaster that never happened before. But the classic question is would there be any warning?

    • Emmyboy profile image


      8 years ago from Nigeria

      I think the real question should be: why should the world even end?

    • Cagsil profile image


      8 years ago from USA or America

      The world will end when the Sun dies(burns out or explodes). Other than that, the human race could wipe itself out without any assistance from any other sources.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      What fascinating research and premises you have offered, Holle. The only thing positive about the end of Earth is that none of us will be around to see it. Except me. Since I have supernatural powers. Heh, heh.

      Voted way up there in the stratosphere, m'dear.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Very interesting question, Habee. I was happy to hear you don't believe it will all end in 2012. :) Stephen Hawking, one of my idols, believes it will be an asteroid that causes the end of us. He says that an asteroid of only 20km is needed to completely annihilate all the people on our planet - crazy! I've also read that one of the reasons that we don't have more asteroids hit our planet is because of Jupiter and it's strong gravitational pull. Gotta love Jupiter!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Personally, I think we humans are more apt to destroy ourselves as a species long before the next asteroid strikes or the sun reaches full brightness and fries Mother Earth. We aren't doing ourselves any favor by stripping the rain forests of South America to get at oil we could live without if we tried, or poisoning our water supply with unregulated chemical run-off and mining sludge (or whatever it's called).

      A great, informative hub, habee. Kudos for the research that went into it. ;D

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Holle, I agree totally, so we can rule out by flood as it was promised that God would not drown us twice, leaving a host of fire and ice.... LOL

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Dusty, I believe however the world ends, it will ultimately be by God's hand. 2 Peter very much sounds like an asteroid impact or nuclear war to me.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Well... isn't *this* the fun thing to ponder! I suppose we can all take comfort in one thing alone: nothing lasts forever.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      8 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I grew up in the sixties too and remember those days when we were instructed in school what to do in a nuclear attack. We know today that those survival tactics would not have helped.

      One way or the other, the Earth will still have it's destiny. An asteroid can end life and it starts over millions of years later. But someday our sun will die and that, of course, is the end for the Earth. As you said, the earth would be "swallowed up" when the Sun dies.

      After all that is said and done, I have to agree with you that Human Life can be destroyed by a man-made pandemic. And that looks very likely with all the stupidity handling antibiotics.

      I found your review very complete and voted up, awesome an interesting.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Holle, these are all a "secular" type ending, and my view is put forth in Revelations, my honest answer, Peace, dust

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, LL! I haven't seen Contagion, I've just read about it. I like the dying sun theory for the end of the world, too! It would be a l-o-n-g time away. lol

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Thought-provoking! Contagion wasn't as apocalyptic as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but the latter is a possibility. I'm hoping for the dying-of-the-sun scenario, personally, since mankind will have definitely come up with an escape plan by then!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, HH! I was just about to head to your place!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Dusty. What's your take on it? You seem to me to be a thinker.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Lol, Dallas. Of course, you're right, but aren't you even a little curious about the end of the world? I don't think it will happen any time soon, by the way.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Too true, Clover. We certainly don't take good care of Earth, and we seem dead set on killing each other. We could very well bring about the end of the world and our own demise.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Jami, thank you very much for voting up my hub!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Laila, who knows? Like I said, I don't worry about it - I'm just curious! lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Mike. I guess I don't have much control over that.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for such a fantastic article. Great work.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Holle, great topic and a smooth covering of the bases that "Might" come true, voted you up, dust

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      I do not worry how the "world will end." It is like worrying how I will die... When it happens, it will not matter. Flag up!

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 

      8 years ago

      I guess we will never know till it happens , and noone knows but God , so let the waiting and watching game begin , if those "nuts" out there hadnt started already! lol This was a wonderful Hub , I enjoyed the read very much , thanks :) i voted up and awesome and interesting for sure!:)

    • LailaK profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You have included an incredible amount of research into your hub, which makes it more convincing! Also, I was reading the other day about research proving of sun rising from the west and causing a lot of corruption on Earth. Maybe that might cause the end of the world as well.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Cardisa! I do believe in evolution, but I believe it was done by the hand of God. I think the end of the world will come about in a similar fashion. Always good to hear from you!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I agree, Katie. Even the experts disagree on end of the world scenarious. I do find the research and theories fascinating, however. I just hope I'm long gone by then! lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, lak! Much appreciated!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Silentreed, I've always thought it was ironic that we humans could ultimately cause the end of the world ourselves by our use of modern inventions and our abuse of nature and Earth.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Modesto, I know that's Biblical, but do you think this was meant to be literal, or is it an extended metaphor for doomsday times?

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Ravi, that might be true if something else doesn't cause the end of the world first. It's all really speculation, of course. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia that's how the world will end, Lizzy. Thanks! lol

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      8 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Actually I disagree with Mike because one of the Google Ads was: "Critical Warning Number 6 Something big will happen in America in the next 180 days!" - I would say that is quite relevant!

      Anyway, Habee, I glad you brought a thought-provoking hub into our lives today. I'm convinced that if the world is going to end then it will be by man's own doing because as a nation we are obsessed with messing with nature.


    • MikeNV profile image


      8 years ago from Henderson, NV

      Here are the 3 Ad Headlines in your Adsense Block. I was not signed in when I got these:

      Get $75 Free Advertising

      Bose Soundlink Mobile

      Social Network Seminar

      Not at all related to the content you wrote. When hubpagers over reacted this is what happened. Google can not or refuses to display relevant related content. They are serving total junk ads to hubs. This is why I don't write hubs anymore. You write about a specific target with plenty of ad inventory and you get this crap.

      Google $75 Free Advertising are inhouse ads and do not pay anything. They are an eyesore and do not benefit your site.

      You work too hard for too little.

      Good luck.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      I honestly think that when God is ready he will do what he will. Most of what we hear is just plain speculation. As I don't believe in evolution I don't believe the world will end in some of the ways people say it will.

      Will the world really end?

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Rwelton, I love Robert Frost! What's your favorite Frost poem?

    • katiedid101 profile image


      8 years ago from Rural Iowa

      I never really think of it as the "end", but as a new beginning. Science has shown over and over the different theories of prior "ends" and our civilization today is the result of these. I believe that it is natures way of cleaning up after itself just as it does when an animal gets over populated and become diseased and part of the population dies. I don't think anyone can, or will, actually predict when, or how, this will take place, but the predictions in your article will definitely keep ones imagination wondering.Thanks for the interesting read.

    • lakshithashree profile image


      8 years ago from Bangalore

      Excellent article. End is inevitable!

    • SilentReed profile image


      8 years ago from Philippines

      If the world evolve from the big bang theory then that would probably be how it would go out.....with a big bang :) But kidding aside I believe that we are already at the precipice.The amount of toxic waste and degradation of the eco-system in the name of progress have seen climate and environment changes that are causing untold sufferings to millions.The planet earth would still be around including the fauna and flora perhaps in "alien" forms. I recall an "end of the world" movie that speculated if a nuclear holocaust would occur,the ordinary household cockroach had a better chance of survival and adapting to a radioactive environment than humans.It won't be an asteroid from space or a deadly virus from the amazon jungles.It would be man himself in his avarice who will cause the end of the world.

    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 

      8 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      We are far from the end. First have to come the many Judgments of Revelation. A great earthquake that will move mountains from their places (pole shift?); one-third of all the fish in the seas dying; one-third of all mankind killed in war; massive plagues; a fake rapture (Operation Blue Beam); the emergence of a *mandatory* one-world church & a one-world government (to give satan maximum authority and power in the short time he will have); wars, including a final march on Israel led by armies from the North (Russia?). Then, Jesus returns in what is called "The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord". First He brings all the faithful up to the clouds, then He destroys everything by fire, sparing just one-sixth of Gog and Magog (not sure about the rest). Then, Jesus sets up reign on earth for 1,000 years.

    • ravi1991 profile image

      Ashutosh Tiwari 

      8 years ago from Lucknow, India

      The world will end due to irregularity in the magnetic fields of earth that directly depends upon sun solar fields ! As the astronomers predict .

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      8 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I have to put in my comedienne's 2-cents worth, and say that since computers were originally promising to give us the "paperless office," and have instead generated tons more paper and reports (that no one actually has the time to read), that the end of the world will happen when we all suffocate in the massive piles of paper and paper waste we have created! ;)

    • rwelton profile image


      8 years ago from Sacramento CA

      Love this poem by Robert Frost:


      Some say the world will end in fire,

      Some say in ice.

      From what I've tasted of desire

      I hold with those who favor fire.

      But if it had to perish twice,

      I think I know enough of hate

      To say that for destruction ice

      Is also great

      And would suffice.

      Your post is good for a lot of personal reflection....



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