Throughout the history of humans, there have been some events that could have sent the earth into a post-apocalyptic era. These events threatened to wipe out the human race and cause mass extinction. Today we will bring you the top 10 events that could have ended the world.
1. The Solar Storm of 2012
The solar storm of 2012 was an event that could have ended the world. It happened on July 23th, 2012 and missed the earth with a margin of nine days. A solar storm is a term for increased activity in the sun. The sun released two massive clouds of plasma, which are known as coronal mass ejections, that were thought to be the most powerful in 150 years. If the solar storm had hit the earth, it would have caused worldwide power blackouts. It was comparable to the solar storm of 1859, during which a coronal mass ejection hit the Earth and produced one of the most massive geomagnetic storms.
A physicist by the name of Pete Riley calculated the odds that a similar solar storm would hit the earth in the next ten years, and the percentage is 12%. If it happened today, the impact could exceed 2 trillion dollars.
2. The Computer Chip That Nearly Started WW III
On June 3rd, 1980, Zbigniew Brzezinski who was president Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, received a call from his military aide informing him that 250 missiles were launched by the Soviet Union and were heading to the United States. Soon after he received another call that 2,200 missiles were heading towards them.
The US officials panicked at the news as this could have been the beginning of World War III. Before launching missiles at the Soviets, Brzezinski waited for confirmation first as there have been false alarms that have happened in the past. Fortunately, he later received a third call, informing him that this was another false alarm. The false alarm that happened and could have started another war was due to a defective computer chip that cost 46 cents.
3. Laki Volcanic Eruption
The eruption of Laki, which is located in Iceland, began on June 8th of 1783. It erupted throughout eight months, and its aftermath affected the whole world. 3.7 quadrillion gallons of lava erupted from 135 craters in Iceland, and within days, the sun turned a blood red color due to the ash from the volcano.
The volcanic ash poisoned land and sea. Animals developed growth on their bodies and became bloated due to ingestion of fluoride contaminated grass. It caused a disease that caused the skin and the flesh of the livestock to rot off. Trees and grass withered away and died, and the soil was no longer able to grow crops. Even the water became poisonous. This resulted in a famine that killed one-fifth of the Icelandic population.
The eruption also caused a massive climate change around the world. Both Japan and the United States suffered from droughts and cold winters, followed by scorching summers. In England, a large number of people died due to respiratory illnesses caused by the volcanic ashes.
4. The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October crisis of 1962, was a 13-day confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States that nearly ended up in a nuclear war. The standoff began when the Soviet Union started to build missile sites in Cuba to stop any attempts of invasions. This was a result of the United States building nuclear missiles in both Turkey and Italy, countries that are close to Russia.
While flying over Cuba, a US spy plane discovered one of the sites where the missiles were being assembled. They photographed their discovery which included the Soviet SS 4 medium-range missiles and intermediate-range missiles. After President Kennedy was briefed about this situation, he informed a public warning. He sent a letter to Khrushchev, a Soviet statesman, to disassemble the missiles and he stopped the US from delivering any offensive weapons to Cuba. American ships also blocked ships carrying missiles from going into Cuba. Still, the Soviet Union wouldn’t back down.
The serious crisis, which lasted 13 days, ended with an agreement from both sides. The Soviet Union would remove their missiles from Cuba, and the United States would remove their missiles from Italy and Turkey. If it weren’t for this agreement, the crisis would have caused nuclear annihilation.
5. Shaanxi Province Earthquake
The Shaanxi province earthquake, which happened on January 23 of 1556, is believed to be the deadliest earthquake ever recorded. More than 97 counties in the province in China were affected, and an estimate of 830,000 people was injured or lost their lives with the death toll being as high as 60%. The magnitude of the earthquake was estimated to be eight on the Richter scale.
The epicenter of the earthquake was in the Wei River near Huaxian, causing every single building in that county to be destroyed and killing more than half of the population of the city.
6. The Spanish Flu
Usually, influenza outbreaks would kill young or elderly people. However, that wasn’t the case for the Spanish Flu that resulted in the death of 50 million people of all ages in 1918. The first reported cases were in Spain, hence the name The Spanish Flu. As close to 100,000 soldiers were in transit every day, It’s believed that the flu was spread by them. The flu attacked the respiratory system, and anyone could have gotten infected since it was transmitted by air. It was so dangerous that an average healthy person’s lifespan was depressed by ten years.
The onset of the Spanish Flu was swift; killing the infected in a matter of hours. The symptoms started with fatigue, fever, and headache. The symptoms would develop into the shortage of oxygen that caused them to suffocate to death. The whole world except a small island was infected by the influenza virus that killed about one-third of the population.
7. The 1815 Eruption of Mount Tambora
The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia was one of the most powerful in the history of volcanic eruptions. The Tambora volcano, which is located on Sumbawa Island, began to rumble on April 10, 1815. It covered the whole island with ash to a height of 1.5 meters (59 inches). This came as a surprise because before this eruption, Mount Tambora was completely inactive.
On April 15th, it erupted again but this time much stronger. It was so strong that the sun was not seen for several days after the eruption. Debris from the volcano that was thrown into the sea caused a medium-sized tsunami. It changed the climate worldwide, even causing snow in New England during the summer. Whether it was because of the eruption, or the aftermath of the eruption, an estimate of 100,000 people died. A lot of them died from diseases and famine as crops couldn’t grow.
8. The Great Plague
The Great Plague, which was also called The Black Death and The Black Plague, was a disastrous pandemic that happened between 1346 and 1353. In these years, an estimate of 75 to 200 million people lost their lives to the devastating disease. The great plague was caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacterium that infects wild rodents and especially black rats that like to live close to people, unlike brown or grey rats that usually live in the sewers. 80% of the infected victim die in three to five days.
The epidemic began when 12 ships docked at the Sicilian port. Most of the sailors on the ships were dead, and few of them were still alive but extremely ill with black boils covering their bodies. It spread to North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. To avoid getting sick, people fled the cities for the countryside, but what they didn’t know was that the disease also affects farm animals. Since no one knew what caused the disease, people thought that it was God’s punishment and the only way to overcome it was to purge the cities of troublemakers and criminals and thousands of people were massacred.
9. The Toba Eruption
The Toba Eruption is the world’s most massive eruptions to this day that changed the course of humanity. This eruption happened 74,000 years ago in an island called Sumatra. The eruption left behind a caldera so big that it could be seen from space. When the super-eruption occurred, it released ash that covered India, Pakistan, the Gulf Region and even into the atmosphere. It also reduced the temperate by 3 – 3.5 degrees causing a dramatic change in the climate, which might have triggered the ice age — the cold weather last six years.
Only a small group of humans survived by chance the powerful super-eruption that drove humans into near extinction. With the climate change and volcanic winter, they migrated to Europe and Asia. It’s believed that we’re the descendants of those survivors.
10. The Bonilla Comets
In 1883 and throughout two days, an astronomer named Jose Bonilla saw 450 unidentifiable objects passing across the surface of the sun. Each of these objects was surrounded by a glowing mist. The phenomenon was dismissed because it was thought that they were specks of dust covering the astronomer’s telescope. However, recent studies show that these objects were fragments of a massive comet that barely missed the earth.
Each of the fragments is believed to have been more powerful than an atomic bomb. They estimated that the parent comet must have weighed a billion ton, similar to the one that struck the earth and killed the dinosaurs millions of years ago.