posted on Jan, 21 2011 @ 05:27 AM
I tend to rate plausible SHTF scenarios based on their survivability as follows:
- Yellowstone Mega Eruption
- Ice Age
- Global Food Famine / Shortage
- Asteroid Impact
- New Madrid Fault Quake
- EMP Attack / Geomagnetic Storm / CME
- Dirty Bomb Attack
- Peak Oil
- Economic Collapse
- Political Collapse
- Sea Level Rise
- Information Collapse
Yellowstone Mega Eruption - The Yellowstone caldera is one of the largest and most active supervolcanoes in the world. It has erupted a number of
times throughout history, gradually heading east each time until reaching it's current location. During it's last eruption 640,000 years ago, it
covered much of the eastern United States in more than 8-feet of volcanic ash and debris after 240 cubic miles of rock and dust were thrown into the
atmosphere. If it were to happen today, the ash and debris would reach all the way to the eastern seaboard. All of the crop land East of Wyoming would
be lost. The global temperature would plummet for several years as a result of the debris in the atmosphere, leading to a little ice age. Potentially
billions would die when crops across the globe failed.
Ice Age - Several times throughout Earth's history, the world has been completely covered with ice. It is reoccurring cycle which will eventually
happen again. The global food supply would be reduced to almost nothing. Most species of animal on Earth would go extinct due to the lack of food or
the change in temperature. Billions would eventually die when stockpiles of food ran out or when fuel for heat ran out.
Global Food Famine / Shortage - Any break in the global food supply chain is going to cause problems. A severe famine or shortage caused by other
means will have dire consequences for millions of people initially. However, as a result, food prices would skyrocket. And that means millions more
would not be able to afford the food required to live and would starve to death as a result or die trying to steal it. Food riots would lead to even
Asteroid Impact - Depending on the size of the asteroid, an impact could potentially be a global killer. If a big enough rock hits land, you are
looking at a massive fireball, earthquakes, and tons of debris in the atmosphere which is going to blot out the sun for years. So even if you survive,
you will probably die soon after. If there is a water impact, you are looking at massive tidal waves and tons of steam and debris being launched into
the atmosphere. Again, even if you survive the tidal waves, the global temperature will drop and the surviving food supply will die.
New Madrid Fault Quake - This is the largest fault in the eastern half of the United States. It runs through several major cities and could
potentially kill millions. The resulting displaced survivors and loss crop production could then lead to severe economic stress and food shortages on
the rest of the country.
EMP Attack / Geomagnetic Storm / CME - This event would primarily impact a lot of the computers and machinery we depend on for our current way of
life. Millions of people worldwide depend on devices susceptible to an EMP in order to live. Such as those with pacemakers or those using similar
appliances to regulate breathing or control seizures. In addition, most medical procedures rely on sophisticated technology in order to diagnose and
treat a variety of injuries and illnesses. Without them, the patient mortality rate will go through the roof. Then there is a communication breakdown.
Given that many businesses are now solely internet operated, the economy will take a major hit. The stockmarket itself will most likely cease to
function. The money in your bank account will disappear until the data can be recovered from backup files in a data storage vault. Then there is the
potential for disrupting transportation. There is a potential that thousands if not millions could die as a result. Although it is survivable.
Pandemic - A fast spreading highly infectious airborn virus with a long gestation period that is antibiotic resistant could potentially kill millions.
That is, if it is not spotted soon enough and proper precautions aren't taken. Even if a cure is not found, if people are able to isolate themselves
from exposure an event of this magnitude could be survivable.
Dirty Bomb Attack - This would entail several low megaton dirty bombs detonated in several major cities. Radioactivity would be at a minimum. Only a
portion of those in affected cities would die or be exposed to lethal doses of radiation. But the damage to the countries infrastructure would be
severe. At a rough estimate, depending on the amount of cities hit, you are looking at thousands to maybe millions killed. But this is an extremely
survivable event for most of the country as fallout would be at a minimum and ground zero for each bomb site would be small.
Peak Oil - The real threat with peak oil is a shutdown of transportation systems. All of the food that gets shipped to your local grocery store. The
ambulance that shows up when you have an accident. The fire trucks that save your house from burning to the ground. The police officers that show up
to save your life. The delivery man who brings you those packages you ordered online. None of them will be able to function. Most people won't even
be able to get to work. The fishing and farming industry will not be able to afford to produce 90% of the global food supply without boats and
tractors. Society as we know it would have to adapt to the change in order to survive. Still, potentially thousands to millions could die as a result
to the lack of food.
Economic Collapse - This is usually considered a doomsday scenario but it really isn't the end of the world. If the economy crumbles, if the dollar
becomes worthless, it isn't the end of the world. You may lose all of your money. But the food supply is still there. Again, society would need to
adapt to the change in order to survive. Still, hundreds to thousands could die if they can no longer pay for medication or food.
Political Collapse - This would be something akin to a civil war. Something we have seen countless times in other countries. And only once in ours.
All it would take is enough public upheaval to oppose the current government and attempt to impose one of their own. As a result, you would be looking
at a civil war ten times bloodier than the first. Now you would have two sides battling it out with tanks, planes and machine guns instead of horses,
cannons and blackpowder rifles. Depending on the length of the battle, you are looking at potentially thousands of deaths before one side or the other
Sea Level Rise - This would be a slow event, with the millions of people in coastal cities slowly being displaced by rising sea water. Millions of
people would eventually become homeless and need to make mass migrations to other parts of the country. Deaths could be mostly avoidable with enough
advanced warning. But you never know.
Information Collapse - That would be the complete loss of the internet. Not an easy thing to accomplish, considering most data servers are highly
secured and shielded. However, if it were to somehow happen, we would basically be taken back to the early 1980's. A time before cell phones and the
internet. The economy would take a hit. A lot of people would be out of the job. But it might not result in much unless you count the thousands of
suicides that spring up when teeny boppers can no longer check their facebook accounts and actually have to talk to people.