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A doomsday event is a specific plausibly verifiable or hypothetical occurrence which has an exceptionally destructive effect on the human race.[1] The final outcomes of doomsday events may range from a major disruption of human civilization, to the extinction of humanity, to the extintion of all life on the planet Earth, to the destruction of the planet Earth, to the anihilation of the Solar System, to the anihilation of the entire universe.

Contents

Scenarios

Doomsday events may include, but are not limited to:

Natural occurrences

File:KT Impact2.jpg
Artist impression of what might have caused the Chicxulub crater.

These include:

  • A sudden change in the physical constants governing the universe, such as that created by a vacuum metastability event.[2]
  • A close approach of a black hole to the solar system.[3]
  • A gamma ray burst or other devastating blast of cosmic radiation.[4] One especially deadly hypothesized source is a hypernova,[5] produced when a hypergiant star explodes and then collapses, sending vast amounts of radiation sweeping across hundreds or even thousands of lightyears of space. Hypernovas have never been observed; however, a hypernova may have been the cause of the Ordovician-Silurian extinction events. The nearest hypergiant is thought to be Eta Carinae, approximately 8,000 light-years distant.
  • A drastic and unusual decrease or increase in Sun's power output; a solar superstorm leading to partial/complete electrical/technological death of human civilization.
  • The solar system passing through a cosmic dust cloud, leading to a severe global climate change.[6]
  • An abrupt repositioning of Earth rotation axis.[7]It could be caused by extremely powerful internal geological or/and external cosmic factors. If it happens abruptly (and not slowly within a very prolongated interval of time) it will generate enormous multiple earthquakes, multiple volcano eruptions, a hypercane or multiple megacyclones, giant tidal waves and megatsunamis all around the globe.
  • An impact event causing a collision (or extremely close passage) of a large meteorite, asteroid or comet. A common theory postulates that the extinction of the dinosaurs occurred approximately 65 million years ago as a result of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event when a large asteroid struck the earth, producing atmospheric dust which blocked solar energy and caused a significant lowering of temperatures worldwide("nuclear winter"). Evidence for this theory includes a sedimentary layer of iridium in the geological record and a large crater in the area of Chicxulub, Mexico. The Tunguska event (1908) was on a much smaller scale. In the case of a close passage of an object(a large asteroid, comet or planet) with a significant gravitational impact on Earth, the consequences could be the same as in the case of an abrupt repositioning of Earth rotation axis. And such a repositioning of the axis would not necessarily have to take place for the earth to see the same global effects.
  • A geological event such as massive flood basalt, volcanism, or the eruption of a supervolcano[8] leading to the so called nuclear winter. One such event, the Toba Eruption,[9] occurred in Indonesia about 71,500 years ago. According to the Toba catastrophe theory,[10] the event may have reduced human populations to only a few tens of thousands of individuals. Yellowstone Caldera is another such supervolcano, having undergone 142 or more caldera-forming eruptions in the past 17 million years.[11]. Massive volcano eruption(s) will produce extraordinary intake of volcanic dust, toxic and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with serious effects on global climate(towards extreme global cooling(nuclear winter when in short term and ice age when in long term) or global warming(if greenhouse gases prevail))
  • An exceptionally devastating hypercane.[12] probably combined with global dust storm, taking up to the atmosphere enormous quantities of dust.
  • Severe climate change due to any or a combination of the above mentioned events. Also it could be caused even solely by drastic changes in ocean currents pattern. In general terms it will be towards extreme global cooling down(nuclear winter when in short term and ice age when in long term) or global warming up of the atmosphere and hydrosphere of the Earth, together with additional malignant effects on global and local precipitation and air circulation patterns. All these climate changes together will have devastating effects on human civilization.
  • A global pandemic (assuming that the causing agent of the pandemic would have a natural origin) with very high or even 100% mortality rate.[13]

Human-made events

These include:

  • Depletion of oil or other important natural resources, assuming that alternatives are not found. Also the globally known already term of "global warming" as a consequences of humanity industrial abuse over the nature, which is possible to lead soon to a severe climate change with its backward consequences for the human civilization
  • Gradual and relatively "slow" but drastic reduction of the world population through economy means such as mass unemployment, leading middle and lower classes to poverty through economic and bankruptcy crisises, malnutrition and starvation, global medical system failure and enormous increase of mortality due to lack of treatments for common letal diseases.
  • A global pandemic with very high or even 100% mortality rate caused by a human-made infectious agent, which could be released among population on purpose. The source could be an individual, a laboratory workers group, a terrorist group, governmental or international organization.
  • A nuclear, chemical, or biological war. A "softer" and "stealthier" case of each of these 3 types of warfare could be nuclear, chemical, or biological terrorism. Again the source could be an individual, a laboratory workers group, a terrorist group, governmental or international organization.
  • A cybernetic revolt. Other variances of extremely advanced technology disasters could be:

- the creation of an artificial black-hole or anihilation of the life on Earth/the planet Earth/the Solar System/the Universe by an unkown quantum effect achieved in an ultramodern collider or another kind of a secret physics laboratory, dedicated on the creation of novel quantum weapons
- "nanorobots pandemic": out-of-control molecular nanotechnology creating a grey goo inundation.

Supernatural events

See also eschatology.

These include:

Precautions

Some precautions that people are already taking for this event include:

  • The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a vault buried 400 feet inside a mountain in the Arctic with over ten tonnes of seeds from all over the world. 100 million seeds from more than 100 countries were placed inside as a precaution to preserve all the world’s crops. A prepared box of rice originating from 104 countries was the first to be deposited in the vault, where it will be kept at minus 18C (minus 0.4F). Thousands more plant species will be added as organizers attempt to get specimens of every agricultural plant in the world. Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust said that by preserving as many varieties as possible, the options open to farmers, scientists and governments were maximised. “The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” he said. Even in conditions of global warming, where the permafrost starts to melt, the seeds will be safe for up to 200 years. Some of the seeds will even be viable for a millennium or more, including barley, which can last 2,000 years, wheat 1,700 years, and sorghum almost 20,000 years.[19]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ See the Wiktionary entry for "doomsday event" for information about the range of senses and usage history for this term.
  2. ^ S. Coleman and F. De Luccia (1980). "Gravitational effects on and of vacuum decay". Physical Review D21: 3305–3315. 
  3. ^ "Black Holes: The Deadliest Force in the Universe". ABC News. 2006-08-28. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Science/story?id=2365372&page=1. 
  4. ^ Wanjek, Christopher (2005-04-06). "Explosions in Space May Have Initiated Ancient Extinction on Earth". NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/starsgalaxies/gammaray_extinction.html. 
  5. ^ Michael Anissimov (2003–2009). "What is a Hypernova?". WiseGEEK. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-hypernova.htm. 
  6. ^ Fraser Cain (2003-08-04). "Local Galactic Dust is on the Rise". Universe Today. http://www.universetoday.com/2003/08/04/local-galactic-dust-is-on-the-rise/. 
  7. ^ Wilford, John Noble (2006-10-12). "Study Links Extinction Cycles to Changes in Earth’s Orbit and Tilt". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/12/science/earth/12extinct.html?ex=1176609600&en=9fc4a5a53674ca70&ei=5087&excamp=mkt_at8. 
  8. ^ Kate Ravilious (2005-04-14). "What a way to go". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/apr/14/research.science2. 
  9. ^ 2012 Admin (2008-02-04). "Toba Supervolcano". 2012 Final Fantasy. http://www.2012finalfantasy.com/2008/toba-supervolcano.php. 
  10. ^ Science Reference. "Toba Catastrophe Theory". Science Daily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/t/toba_catastrophe_theory.htm. 
  11. ^ Breining, Greg (2007). Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park. Voyageur Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-7603-2925-2. 
  12. ^ Stephen Leahy (2005). "ENVIRONMENT: The Dawn of the Hypercane?". IPS. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=30308. 
  13. ^ "Pandemic". Horizon. BBC. BBC Two. 2006-11-07.
  14. ^ Strabo; transl. by H. L. Jones (1923). "Book IV, Chapter 4". Geography: Book III - V. Vol. II. London: Heinemann. p. 245. OCLC 312142230. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/4D*.html. 
  15. ^ Munz et al (2009-08-18). "When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical modeling of an outbreak of zombie infection". Ontario: University of Ottawa. http://www.mathstat.uottawa.ca/~rsmith/Zombies.pdf. 
  16. ^ Betsy Mason (2009-08-18). "Mathematical Model for Surviving a Zombie Attack". Wired. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/zombies/. 
  17. ^ Pallab Ghosh (2009-08-18). "Science ponders 'zombie attack'". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8206280.stm. 
  18. ^ Robert Smith? (2009-12). "A report on the zombie outbreak of 2009: How mathematics can save us (no really)". Canadian Medical Association Journal, 181: E297-E300. http://www.mathstat.uottawa.ca/~rsmith/CMAJZombies.pdf. 
  19. ^ Lewis Smith (2008-02-27). "Doomsday vault for world’s seeds is opened under Arctic mountainl". London: The Times Online. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3441435.ece. 

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