Chapter 14: A super volacano will go off–the question is WHEN

Fitness Tips for the Apocalypse

A regular volcano is easy to spot: oh look, there’s a big mountain with a crater-mouth thing on top from when it went boom last time.

I live in the shadow of big honking volcanoes, including Mount Rainier (ginormous, but has not gone off lately) and Mount Saint Helens (also big, and went kaboom).

A super volcano is an entirely different animal. They aren’t mountain-shaped. These things are so big, you could be standing on one and not know it.

Yellowstone is one giant volcano, for example.

1) What happens when one of these things explodes?

Bad things.

No, seriously. Really, really bad.

A regular volcano can cause lahars (think of being buried in 30 feet of steaming mud), lava, poisonous gas and all kinds of ash entering the air. That ash can circle the world and cause temperatures to drop a bit, no joke.

When a super volcano goes off, it’s 2.4 bazillion times worse. Instead of a local mess, it’s a regional disaster, even continent-wide. If the Yellowstone super V blew, it would bury Nebraska in seven feet of ash.

The worst part: Nebraskan farmers wouldn’t have to worry about shoveling seven feet of ash from their fields, because nothing would grow anyway. So much ash gets ejected into the atmosphere that it blocks the sun. Scientists believe super volcanoes cause short ice ages. Short being the geological term, you know, “300 hundred years” instead of “10,000 years.”

2) How likely is this type of apocalypse?

The bad news? It’s a 100 percent guarantee.

There are at least a dozen super volcanoes around the world that have gone off before. Scientists say they erupt on a rough schedule.

The good news is those schedules are also on a geological time frame–for some of these supers, it’s 600,000 years.

Back to the bad news: some of these super volcanoes are overdue.

3) How could you prepare?

This is a tough one. You can’t really predict when or where one will explode.

Stocking up on canned food and ammo wouldn’t help that much, seeing how it would be a global disaster and food production would grind to a halt. There’d be massive starvation, and your three-month supply of baked beans and tuna fish would last you…three months.

Unlike other apocalyptic scenarios, such as WATERWORLD: KEVIN COSTER IS OPTIONAL, you’d want to move toward the equator instead of away from it, since those areas would be warmest.

Whatever animals survive the mini-ice age might get quickly hunted to extinction.

While this sounds completely unappealing, growing mushrooms in a cave is the kind of last-ditch thing that could work here, and in just about every other apocalyptic scenario. I’m just not sure humans can survive on mushrooms alone. Wouldn’t you get scurvy and such?

4) Is this preventable?

Unlike zombies and killer robots, super volcanoes definitely exist. They will wake up, as they have before, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them.

The only truly preventative measure that might safeguard people is going full Elon Musk: establish colonies on the moon, asteroids and Mars.

Then when it’s safe after a few hundred years, send people back to recolonize Earth and reconnect with hardy survivors hanging out in caves and nom-nomming on mushrooms.

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Chapter 12: What types of apocalyptic insanity should you actually prep for–and which can you ignore?

Fitness Tips for the Apocalypse

Just as it’s not brilliant to (a) quit your job, cash out your retirement and move your family to an underground bunker in the Yukon to eat canned beans and get ready for the arrival of zombies, aliens or killer robots, it’s equally dumb to (b) do absolutely nothing. Because there will always be hurricanes, earthquakes, raging wildfires and pandemics. No matter where you live, something can go wrong.

HOWEVER: What should you actually prep for, and what scenarios are fanboy fantasies you can safely forget about?

Two bits of terrible nonsense that definitely will happen, but you can completely ignore

Last week, I did a post with a great infographic created by the BBC, which sorted possible disasters in a great way. Click here: Chapter 11: What’s the actual likelihood of all the different flavors of apocalyptic craziness?

Two big ones on the BBC list are things that will happen. Guaranteed.

Yet you can safely ignore them.

  • Death of the Sun–Yes, this will happen, eventually. Billions of years from now. What are you gonna do about it?
  • Heat death of the universe–Also guaranteed, if current physicists are right. Also impossibly far off in the future and not worth your time pondering or prepping.

Four horrific things that MAY happen that you should also ignore

  • Gamma Ray Bursts–Doesn’t sound that bad. Isn’t that how Bruce Banner became the Hulk? But no, in the actual universe instead of the Marvel one, Gamma Ray Bursts are insane space death rays that originate from black holes and such and can fry a planet like earth just like that. Nothing you can do about it. No way to predict or stop one, and they’re crazy rare. Fuggetaboutit.
  • Rogue Black Holes–Yeah, this is theoretically possible. One of these might float into our solar system and eat Jupiter for breakfast and Earth for dinner. Not likely and there’s nothing you can do about it.
  • SimCity–Some people think our entire universe is a simulation, and some 13-year-old alien may get tired of it, shut it down and play Batman: Arkham Knight instead. Also not likely and impossible to stop if true.
  • Zombies–Though I adore zombie movies, you have to really stretch to pretend there’s a scenario where zombies actually happen.

Eight different Apocalypse Maybes

Now we’re talking. These scenarios are (a) possible, if not likely, (b) capable of causing global havoc,  (c) preventable, (d) survivable and (e) good fodder for a movie starring The Rock.

  1. Waterworld–Kevin Costner was a prophet, right? Climate change is happening. Seas are rising, weather is getting more extreme and it doesn’t look good.
  2. Spanish Flu on Steroids–Airplanes circling the globe make it super easy for a new virus or disease to spread unnaturally fast.
  3. Supervolcano Goes Boom–There are about a dozen supervolcanos on earth. Any one of them going off could ruin things for, I don’t know, a century. Nasty business.
  4. Overpopulation–We’re already kinda there, with 7 billion people using more resources than the earth can replenish every year.
  5. Underpopulation–The flip side, most likely in combination with another disaster.
  6. Mad Max–Though it’s a Hollywood cliche, nuclear war is still a real-life issue.
  7. The Terminator–Killer robots, or AI gone rogue, are definitely possible, especially if militaries increasingly deploy killer drones and AI tanks and such.
  8. Killer Rocks from Space–Little asteroids hit Earth all the time. A big one could end modern civilization.

In the next few weeks, I’ll dive into each of these eight scenarios. Can it be prevented, and how would you actually prep to survive it?

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