5 Possible Causes of the Apocalypse

by Liz Becker

(Note by Dr. Bones:  This is a guest post by a budding young writer, Liz Becker, on her thoughts about some possible collapse scenarios.  Liz is an blogger, freelance writer and recent college graduate. She currently performs market research for an online marketing firm when she is not contributing her own thoughts and observations to the online community. We encourage Liz and other writers to contribute to this site on any preparedness topic.  Check out “submit an article” on the gray toolbar above for rules and instructions.)

Collapse Scenarios:  What Could Happen?

Many people, especially extreme survivalists, have steeled themselves for the very real possibility of a major economic system collapse, or a global catastrophe that could shake the human civilization to its very core. It has become the subject of thousands of movies and books, often in extremely overwrought and unrealistic contexts. Usually the catalysts for such epic  terror take on the form of zombie uprising caused by a global pandemic disease or virus, or a nuclear war. But there are other, less talked about dangers—both man-made, from space and on Earth—that should give us a moment’s pause as we stock our survival shelters, set up our medical alert systems and assemble our preparedness training materials. Here are five often over-looked possible causes of the apocalypse:

Grey goo:

Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a molecular level. It is a major new scientific innovation that is being used in a wide variety of industries, from the creation of semiconductors and satellites to biotechnology and robotics. There are scientists out there, however,that worry that nanotechnology could get out of control and that self-replicating nanobots could one day spread loose like a disease, eating up the raw material of the Earth and leaving behind nothing but grey goo. While this may sound a little extreme, the possibility of a nanotechnological disaster has to be considered when discussing programmable matter.

Gamma ray burst:

Supernovas occur when a stellar explosion produces enough electromagnetic radiation and energy to outshine its own galaxy. The energy it creates usually ends up traveling at 10% the speed of light andcarries powerful shock waves in the form of gamma ray bursts. If one of these gamma ray bursts occurred near enough to Earth it could have dire consequences for live on the planet. In fact, a gamma ray burst that inundated us in radiation for just 10 seconds would essentially destroy half of our ozone layer and expose many of the Earth’s organisms to deadly ultraviolet radiation. It could also create rogue NO2 molecules which could set off another Ice Age.

Magnetic Pole Shift:

This would essentially see a geomagnetic reversal of energy fields on the Earththat would trigger earthquakes, climate change, and many extinctions. There is actually a scientific basis for such an event, as it actually happened 780,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Some scientists say there is ample evidence that we are in the early stages of a shift right now. In the future, such a shift of electromagnetic energy could puncture more holes in the ozone layer and cause widespread destruction.


Yes, they were featured in the movie 2012 and may seem a little hyperbolic, but there is a factual basis behind the hype. There are six known supervolcanos in the world—Yellowstone, Lone Valley, VallesCaldera, Lake Toba, Taupo Volcano, and Aira Caldera—and if one or more of them erupted it could produce enough ash to blot out the sun and cause an Ice Age.  Supervolcanos would also be likely to cause widespread famine as people are cut off from food supplies and agricultural sources.


This is considered one of the more likely possibilities for planetary destruction, largely because we know that the Earth has been struck by meteors and comets in the past. It is widely believed that the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid and possibly other single-celled species in the past. Recently, it was discovered that in the late 18th century, an astronomer documented a series of hundreds of comets that came much closer to the Earth than originally believed. An asteroid impact is not so much a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ and, more importantly ‘how big.’ A major asteroid impact could create continent sized tidal waves and near permanent destruction to the atmosphere.

TEOTWAWKI: How Much is Real?

There’s a thin line between apocalypse hysteria and justifiable assessment. Indeed, much of the noise over 2012 and the Mayan calendar is unjustified and not really backed up by any hard science. But that’s not to say there aren’t actual legitimate ways in which the Earth could be threatened by grave circumstances. In fact, there are plenty of possible ways that the Earth could be destroyed or that life on it could become unsustainable, which is why a great many people have built their own disaster shelters.

In addition to the physical damage to our infrastructure and loss of life, a major planetary disaster would also knock out our information and energy grids for extending period of time. Considering how reliant many of us have become on the Internet and electricity, an extended blackout could cause awidespread panic. While we have to hope that the world will go on turning for hundreds of thousands of years, it doesn’t hurt to prepare for the possibility of something truly zany happening.

How would you react? And would you be prepared to survive it?

Liz Becker

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