Doomsday: Possibilities For How The World Could End

Reston Aaron, Staff Writer

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Over time, our different versions of what will end the world have evolved dramatically. We have thought up fantasies of shambling undead and of robot uprisings, amongst other things. Though these will not happen any time soon, or ever, it is interesting to investigate more likely scenarios, or speculations from the past. So, here are versions which are either the most credible, or were popular in the past.

A Red Giant Sun

In around 1 billion years, we will all be wiped clean of the face of the earth. That is, assuming that we live here until then. According to this popular theory, in 1 billion years, the sun will increase in heat and brightness, and will cause global warming far beyond anything we have experienced thus far.  2.5 billion years after that, our world will enter a state similar to Venus, becoming a wasteland devoid of all life whatsoever. Chances are, we will be gone from this planet before this, because of either global conflict, a dangerous epidemic, or colonization of other worlds.

Supervolcanic Eruption

This next one is also avoidable, though in this theory we are on a faster timeline. Every 100,000 years, a caldera somewhere on earth explodes, with the resulting ash starving plant life and poisoning humans for many years after. The fires erase anything within 62 miles of the eruption, and the ash lowers global temperatures by 41 to 50  degrees Fahrenheit. The most famous eruption in history was in Sumatra, Indonesia, about 74,000 years ago:  the Toba caldera. This eruption was 1,739 cubic miles. It is theorized that this event caused a global volcanic winter of 6-10 years, as well as severely reduced the human population. Once again, according to this theory, we must evacuate the planet within 100,000 years, or wait out the aftereffects.

Nuclear War

Nuclear War is definitely avoidable, being that it is caused by humans who are unable to make peace. In the case that Nuclear weapons are launched, all countries which have been bombed will nuke the instigator(s) in a belief known as mutually assured destruction. This means that if one country is destroyed by nuclear weapons, it will proceed to do the same to the country that started the conflict. However, this fallout would not only harm the participating countries but the whole world, in a process known as nuclear winter. If 100 nuclear bombs were dropped, each with the force of 15 kilotons of TNT, it could launch around 5 million metric tons of black carbon smoke into the atmosphere, reducing growing seasons, worldwide temperatures, and more. This is the least of what could happen, because there are around 14,215 nuclear weapons existing in the world today as recorded on ploughshares.org. We must take steps to disarm these weapons, before they are used for anything besides tests.

Those are just a few of the disasters that could befall our race, though we thankfully have plenty of time until these potential disasters occur.