There’s no shortage Doomsday naysayers. And sure, it’s easy to ignore the prophecies of ancient Mayans. But you know what? The world could end any time.
Here’s a rundown of the seven most likely ways our world could crumble at any time.
every 10 million years or less
For what it’s worth, it’s thought the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid six miles across. On the off-chance that NASA’s failed to spot a rock that size hurtling towards the planet, physcists have worked out that it would be impossible to nuke an Earth-killing asteroid — so it really would be curtains. [clear]
People seem to have forgotten about the nuclear threat since the end of the Cold War — but the risk remains. In 2008, Physics Today published an article that explained the consequences of nuclear war. It concluded that 100 nuclear bombs would bring about a “nuclear winter” featuring the lowest temperatures in 1000 years, while 1000 of things would “likely eliminate the majority of the human population”.
Now might be good time to point out that more countries than ever have nuclear weapons at their disposal: currently, nine countries are known to have nucelar capabilities, but only five of them are members of the safeguarding Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. With North Korea throwing rockets into the air like confetti, the nuclear threat is as present as ever. [clear]
If you thought the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland caused problems, think again. Over two million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption — which happened where Yellowstone National Park now stands — produced 2500 cubic kilometres of dust and ash. For some perspective, that’s 10,000 times worse than Eyjafjallajökull. All it would take to bring the planet to its knees would be a couple of such eruptions in close succession. And the next Yellowstone super eruption is closer than you think. [clear]
fatalities in 90 per cent of the populationengineered avian flu could kill half the world’s humansinstitutions involved in biological warfare research
A man-made black hole
The computer simulation we live in gets rebooted
recently suggested how we could tell