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Doomsday Scenarios: How Will the World End?

Updated on October 20, 2018
Sudhir Devapalan profile image

I am a front-end developer by profession, but I enjoy writing articles about anything mysterious, interesting, and fascinating.

End of the world
End of the world

There many ways that the world can come to an end. The scenario we are talking about is not the complete destruction of Earth but rather the extinction of the human species. We have always been interested in the possibilities and prophesies surrounding doomsday. Here are some of the ways that we may face our doom:

Magnetars
Magnetars

Magnetars:

When a Star explodes, it creates a very bright light which fades over several weeks or even years. This explosion is called a Supernova. The Star then collapses forming a Neutron Star or a Black Hole. A Magnetar is a special form of a Neutron Star.

The Magnetars are small and extremely dense. What makes them special is the enormous amount of magnetic field which they possess. A Magnetar can have a magnetic field of up to 1 quadrillion gauss. This field is about 1,000 trillion times stronger than what we have on Earth. This intense magnetic field can disrupt more than just a compass on Earth.

The magnetic field from the Magnetar can seriously disrupt the covalent bonds in our molecules. Humans would just dissolve if Earth was 1,000 km from a Magnetar! Magnetars also have a phenomenon called a starquake similar to earthquakes here on Earth. A starquake from a Magnetar 10 light years away would blast us with radiation that would destroy the Ozone layer and eventually killing everyone.

We have no way of protecting ourselves from the Magnetars. We can only hope and pray that they don’t get close enough to us. Thankfully the closest Magnetar to Earth is now about 9,000 light years away.

Alien Invasion
Alien Invasion

Alien Invasion:

The Universe is vast and extends in all directions. We have explored only a fraction of our Universe. From this uncertainty, it is quite likely that there might be hundreds or even thousands of planets that are similar to Earth with intelligent life. There is also a possibility that we may come in contact with these aliens.

Humans are relatively a new species on Earth. Although we may consider ourselves to be technologically advanced, there may be aliens out there who are much smarter and more advanced than us. There is a possibility that these aliens might be interested in the resources present on Earth and we might end up in the middle of the fight.

Scientists do not deny the possibility of aliens. However, there might be a technologically advanced species capable of masking their presence, planning to invade us. As with any invasion, however, it would be difficult for the aliens to set a foothold on Earth and they will face stiff resistance. Ther fight for survival will be brutal.

A volcanic eruption
A volcanic eruption

Super Volcano:

Volcanoes are scary and dangerous. A volcanic eruption can change the landscape and affect the people living around it. Volcán de Fuego was the most recent volcano that erupted in June 2018. This eruption killed 159 people and 256 people were missing. This volcanic eruption measured a mere '3' on the Volcanic Explosivity Index or VEI.

Supervolcanoes are volcanoes which have an explosion index of 8! 8 is the highest value on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. This means that the volume of deposits for the eruption is more than 1,000 cubic kilometers. The explosion of such a volcano would have far-reaching consequences. The surrounding areas will be devastated. Millions will die immediately if not evacuated.

The major problem for us is not the explosion damage. The explosion would send large quantities of gases like Sulfur Dioxide and ash into the atmosphere. These gases would block out the Sun for several years triggering a global climate change. Famine and drought would follow. Then the plants will slowly start to die off.

It is hard to say if humans could survive such a catastrophe since we do not fully understand the consequences yet. Not all life would perish. But humans will be on the endangered list. The last supervolcano erupted 74,000 years ago in Sumatra, Indonesia. There are currently 20 known supervolcanoes. The most famous is the Yellowstone volcano in the USA.

The plague as depicted by Michael Wolgemut
The plague as depicted by Michael Wolgemut

Plague:

A global pandemic is one of the scariest things we may have to face. We can cure many diseases with the help of current medicine. But there are still many pathogens which remain a mystery. Bacteria and Viruses regularly undergo mutation. These mutant strains become immune to drugs. If such a hybrid pathogen begins to spread, the world may be all but doomed.

The Black Death was a Plague that ravaged Europe between 1347-1351. During this period 75 - 200 million people died in Europe. The Plague had killed 30-60% of the entire population of Europe. It was a dark and terrible period. Thousands of people died every day. Dead bodies piled up on the streets as everyone was afraid to touch them. Mothers abandoned their children and Children abandoned their parents. Death was all that was certain.

We may feel confident in our medical capabilities. But when the plague strikes and the system breaks down, Hell’s doors will open. As more and more people die, it will be all but impossible to keep things together. In the end, our compassion might end up killing us.

An artist's imagination of an asteroid impact
An artist's imagination of an asteroid impact

Asteroid:

The Chicxulub crater found in Mexico was caused by an Asteroid impact about 66 million years ago. The asteroid impact led to the mass extinction of 75% of all plant and animal species on Earth. The Asteroid that hit Earth was about 10-15kms in diameter. Earth is being bombarded by thousands of small space debris each day. However, they all disintegrate on entering our atmosphere.

If an Asteroid of larger size comes directly on the path of Earth, we will be facing a major calamity. The initial impact will decimate a large area around the point of collision. Then the rest of the world will be fully covered in a layer of dust which would block the sun. Plants and animals will slowly die off leading to an Ice age.

Scientists believe that the Asteroid ‘Apophis’ will pass very close to Earth on April 13, 2029. This Asteroid may collide with Earth in the future. If that happens, mankind will be doomed. And we will not be able to do anything about it.

Nuclear war
Nuclear war

Nuclear War:

Nuclear bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WW2. The effect of the atomic bomb was gruesome. Even years after the explosion, radiation continues to affect the people and their children. These bombs have never been used in battle again.

There are currently over eight Nations with atomic weapons. The mere presence of nuclear weapons acts as a deterrent to any war. But if these nations go to war, the usage of atom bombs will be unavoidable. We have also currently created thermonuclear weapons. Thermonuclear weapons are many times more powerful than the atom bomb.

The bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki had the explosive power of 15 kilotons and 20 kilotons of TNT, respectively. A thermonuclear weapon has the explosive capability of 10,000 kilotons of TNT. If a WW3 broke out, hundreds of thermonuclear weapons would be detonated around the world. Millions will die, the rest will face a slow agonizing death from radiation and climate change.

Solar flare
Solar flare

Solar Storm:

A Solar flare is a sudden increase in brightness of the Sun. A large amount of energy is emitted by the Sun. This will sometimes be accompanied by Coronal Mass Ejection which is a significant release of plasma. These solar flares are as powerful as a billion nuclear bombs!

When the Solar flare hits Earth, they affect the Earth’s magnetosphere. Solar flares would also knock out satellites and disrupt electronic communication. Scientists believe that a Solar Storm would cause 20 times more damage than the worst Hurricane. All electronic equipment would be rendered useless.

Black Hole
Black Hole

Black Hole:

A Black Hole is a place in space where the gravitational force is so strong that even light cannot escape it. The gravity is so strong as the matter has been squeezed together. The size of the Black Home can be as small as an atom but having an enormous amount of mass. A Black Hole is formed when a big Star collapses on itself.

We will not be able to see a Black Hole directly. However, there are special Telescopes that help identify them. If we are unfortunate enough to come close to a Black Hole, we will fall apart. The intense gravitational force would cause immense destruction. Then our planet will be destroyed. The chances of coming into contact with a Black Hole is however only about one in a trillion.

Climate change
Climate change

Global Warming:

Global Warming is a serious issue. It might not be as destructive as the initial explosion of an atomic bomb. But over several years its destruction will catch up. Our Rainforests are being cut down. The oxygen levels in our atmosphere are falling. The CO2 levels are rising more than ever.

Climate changes which should have taken thousands to millions of years are now happening within 50 years. The polar ice caps melting has risen the sea level submerging low lying areas. The increase in temperature has affected the climate patterns all over the world. There are many more problems we have to face.

This disaster is caused by and under the control of humans. If we need to survive, we need to take care of our planet. We need to take care of our trees and reduce pollution if we want to have a chance at survival.

Image from Terminator 3
Image from Terminator 3

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hot new trend. We are trying to make machines to replace humans at work. Robots are currently used for various roles. From hospitals to manufacturing robots have taken over our tasks. We even have robots that can think on their own and take calculated decisions.

But are these robots trustworthy? There is a distinct possibility that these robots could revolt against us. They have been created to be smarter than us. We may be surrounded by such robots in the future. We will be dependent on them for everything. Studies have already shown that people are getting dumber.

There may come a time when the robots which we created become self-sufficient and are not dependent on us. We, on the other hand, will always be dependent on them. When this happens, we may end up fighting a war against an AI which is smarter and more powerful than any foe we have ever faced.

© 2018 Random Thoughts

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