Every morning we wake up brings us closer and closer to a catastrophic disaster that could spell doomsday for the entire human race. In the morning while we enjoy our cup of coffee, a mega earthquake is ready to shake things up under our feet. While we mix milk with our favorite cereal in our favorite bowl, a supervolcano is slowly waking up to spread Armageddon the moment we clock into the office. On our daily drive, facing rush hour traffic, the ground may open up without warning, swallowing every car, pedestrian, and building in its wake.
There are so many nightmare scenarios that have a high possibility of happening within the next three or five decades, and there is nothing that we can do to prevent it because nature runs on its own schedule. All that we can do when it happens — or before it happens — is to stay prepared for the worst.
From super volcanic eruptions to a super tsunami that can wipe out an entire chain of the island from the earth, natural disasters are always lurking at every corner.
5. West Coast Wildfires
The State of California is no stranger to wildfires. Every year, hundreds upon hundreds of acres are burned down by forest fires that seem to be getting worse over time.
In fact, in a study made by the US Geological Survey and Forest Service, they reported that the acreage burned by wildfires has skyrocketed to 6.4 million since 1999, drastically tripling from an annual 2.2 acres. If this number keeps on going up, experts predict that a large portion of the country will be up in flames in the very near future. Also, according to the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences or SEAS, wildfire seasons in the United States will be twice as smoky and will last longer by three weeks, unforgivably burning and scorching massive portions of the West each year.
Additionally, SEAS points out that the increase in the Earth’s temperature due to climate change has greatly contributed to the worsening situation of annual wildfires. Dr. Loretta J Mickley, a SEAS Senior Research Fellow in Atmospheric Chemistry shares that climate temperature is indeed the biggest factor in determining future wildfires. It is more likely that the fires will get fiercer as climate temperatures continue to rise, she adds.
To add more salt to the wound campaigns to stop forest fires like “Smokey the Bear” has only exacerbated the problem because it prevents the natural cycle of brush fires that clear out the forest underbrush. The irony, unfortunately, is not lost here.
Today, with predictions of 30,000 to 50,000 annual wildfires, the US might eventually end up experiencing its literal version of Hell on Earth.
4. The East Coast Submerged
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy submerged a lot of major US cities underwater, and it was considered by many experts as one of the most devastating freak storms to ever hit the country in 700 years; but with the rising sea levels along the East Coast of the US, we may not even need a storm like Sandy or Katrina to see major cities get swallowed up by water.
John Boon, Professor Emeritus of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science outlined a study and claimed that a significant change in sea level has been occurring since 1987 spanning the coastlines of Key West, Florida to Newfoundland, Canada. What is concerning about the study is that shows that sea levels are increasing at 0.3 millimeters annually. Even more troubling is a study by the US Geological Survey claims that water levels in the East Coast of the country are rising three to four times faster than anywhere else in the globe, making plenty of the coastal areas in the northeast at high risk because of property values.
The sea levels in New York City alone is expected to rise by 31 inches in 2050, submerging 25 percent of the city as well as rendering 97 percent of its power plants utterly useless.
With about 800,000 people living in high-risk flood zones, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed to create a flood system in 2013 worth $20 billion to save the sinking city. Unfortunately, the project was never put into action and is now collecting dust in a dark corner somewhere.
3. The Eruption of Mt Fuji
When Japan’s entire landmass shifted during the Tohoku earthquake, it also stirred 20 of the country’s 110 volcanoes awake after increased seismic activities in their areas were recorded. Even more unnerving is the fact that any one of these volcanoes may erupt any day according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
No stranger to tremors, Japan has suffered a sufficient amount of damage from earthquakes over a thousand years. However, when we are talking about dormant volcanoes waking up, the whole scenario has added much more fear into the mix.
In recent studies, calculations show that Japan is always due for a major volcanic eruption every 38 years and it seems that the country is overdue for one. Out of the 110 volcanoes dotting the island country, 47 are recorded as active.
Among the 47 active volcanoes is the famed Mt Fuji. Standing at a magnificent height of over 12,000 feet, it is one of the volcanoes that are most likely to erupt any time after a report was published by a scientific team from France and Japan.
The news caused great concern to Japanese citizens as Mt Fuji is located 62 miles from Tokyo. Should the volcano decide to erupt tomorrow it would mean that about 750,000 people will be evacuated from the city as it will most likely be covered in ash and volcanic material; practically decimating the country’s capital and nearby areas.
2. The Big One Shaking California
The likelihood of at least a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hitting California in the next few decades was increased by the US Geological Survey. Called as “The Big One” by many Californians, it is the one earthquake that they say will reduce the entire state into rubble and the one that everyone in the entire country has been nervously waiting for.
The US Geological Survey goes even further in their findings saying that a magnitude 8.0 quake or larger has a 7 percent chance of hitting California in the next 30 years. However, from their recent findings, the odds of a 6.5 – 7.0 magnitude quake ripping through the West Coast state has gone up to 30 percent.
Most likely, the cause of The Big One will most likely originate from the breaking of the San Andreas Fault. However, other theories suggest that the mega quake will be triggered by the lesser known Hayward Fault that sits in proximity to San Francisco.
Regardless of the origin, experts all agree on one thing: the earthquake will definitely devastate the entire state of California and neighboring areas on the West Coast. Basing their claims on historical-data based projections, the earthquake will be predicted to cause severe damage to major infrastructure and start full-scale wildfires due to the amount of dry brush that is common in the state.
It is essentially a race against time as the White House has recently granted $5 million to a team of experts coming from UC Berkley, Caltech, and the University of Washington to develop an Earthquake Early Warning System that, hopefully, will alert people a full minute before a tremor hits. Unfortunately, the current system that has been developed is only able to predict a quake 10 seconds before it hits.
1. The Caribbean Tsunami
In 2001, two researchers from the University College of London and the University of California Santa Cruz hypothesized that the imminent eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands would create the largest and most destructive tsunami in recorded history.
Published in a co-authored study, Dr. Simon Day from the University College of London, and Dr. Steven Ward from UC Santa Cruz claimed that during the volcano’s last eruption, a large rupture appeared on its left side which has made the geological structure quite unstable.
If Cumbre Vieja erupts, the rupture to its side will result in a catastrophic landslide that will create the tsunami that will basically wipe out all the islands in the Caribbean on a scale that can only be compared to the mythical Atlantis.
With gigantic waves that are predicted to travel at 800 miles per hour and grow to at least 330 feet tall upon the first impact with land, the tsunami is believed to hit as far as Florida within nine hours of its creation. As the rippling continues to build waves, the monster tsunami is also projected to hit as far as England.
Dr. Day and Dr. Ward paint everything as a worst-case scenario since it is impossible for an entire landmass to fall into the water in one event. More likely, parcels of land and rock from the volcano will tumble into its nearby waters gradually, creating destructive waves if not a tsunami itself.