We have all heard many predictions about how the world will end and humans will go extinct with other living species on earth. An incurable illness, nuclear wars between powerful nations or global warming any of these could become the reason and can end the days for life on earth. In the past, there have been times that humans came close to extinction that our ancestors survived by a very close margin. We might don’t know what the future holds but we can always learn from our past. Here is a list of ten times when the end of days came knocking on our door.
1. Marine Isotope Stage 6 :
Around 195,000 to 150,000 years ago the world changed when a catastrophic natural phenomenon known as the Marine Isotope Stage 6 occurred. The climate saw an extreme change at that time, the temperature dropped intensely in the winter and summer. Glaciers and deserts expanded and the world became cold and dry and entire habitats were destroyed. Large groups of humans had to leave or were forced out of shrinking habitable areas. Large continuous livable range of territory shrank to little pockets of land. All of these changes took a toll on the human population as according to some, the human population shrank down to only 600 people. Many of the survivors settle beside the sea, what’s now known as South Africa.
2. The Toba Explosion:
About 75,000 years ago the Toba supereruption happened at the site of present-day Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. The super-eruption that blew apart Sumatra is considered as one of Earth’s largest known eruptions. This episode threw so much ash and debris into the air that it caused global volcanic winter of six to ten years and likely a 1,000-year-long cooling episode. Many believe, this caused an extreme fall for the human population known as a population bottleneck. Many believe, years of winter and an atmosphere full of noxious gases caused the entire population decreased down to between 1,000 and 10,000 people. This is said to be the largest volcanic eruption in two million years.
3. The Black Death:
One of the most devastating epidemics of disease that spread globally was the Black Death also known as the Great Plague. It started to spread in Europe in1347 and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia. The plague was so deadly that it is thought to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population and reduced the world population from an estimated 450 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century. The bacterium Yersinia pestis believed to have been the cause of the plague outbreak. The plague was believed to have started in Central Asia and made its way to Europe by fleas and diseased rats on merchant ships. It wiped out half of China’s population and eighth percent of Africa’s at its peak. Until the 19th century, the plague recurred as outbreaks in Europe. It took about 200 years for the world population to recover to its prior level.
Asteroids are said to be the reason for the extinction of dinosaurs and they are constantly flying around the space atmosphere. There have been times that an Asteroid could have blew us up. In June 2015, NASA monitored an asteroid 1.5 miles in size and was fifteen times the size of the largest asteroid that has ever been observed, barely missing Earth. It was first reported in March 2014 that an asteroid around 1.2 kilometers wide could hit our planet. On April 14, 2018, there was Asteroid 2018 GE3 which shot past Earth only a few hours after its discovery. Believed to be the largest known Asteroid to have past so close to us, Asteroid 2018 GE3 had a diameter of 48–110 meters and was only 192,317 kilometers from Earth which is less than half the distance between Earth and the Moon. Though this Asteroids barely missed us that doesn’t mean we are safe. According to NASA, no one knows where the 98 percent of the asteroids are heading in space. Though these events caused a global outbreak to create a system that would either destroy or divert the asteroids approaching the earth.
5. Norwegian Rocket Incident:
After the nuclear explosions that occurred during WW II, we all are aware of how devastating it could be for human civilizations if a nuclear war breaks out between the most powerful nations in the world. According to scientists, it would take between ten and a hundred nuclear bombs to put the entire human race to an end. And even if some of us survives, they will die a slow death because of the radiation caused by the nuclear explosion will make the air toxic and poisonous.
In 1995, a team of American and Norwegian scientists launched a rocket as part of an experiment studying the Northern Lights. When Russian radar systems detected the rocket heading over their northern border, it was thought to be a missile that the United States had sent a preemptive nuclear attack. The Russian government didn’t waste any time and sounded the high alert and prepared for war. Fortunately, Russian observers watched the presumed missile drop harmlessly into the Arctic Ocean before the order could be given. This was the only time that the Russians had brought out the “nuclear briefcase” which had a ten-minute decision deadline. It can send the command to send thousands of nuclear missiles towards their enemy. The world escaped a global nuclear war by minutes.
6. Spanish Flu:
Spanish flu or the 1918 influenza pandemic was an unusually deadly global epidemics to strike the human race. It is considered to be one of the worst infectious diseases ever to break out involving H1N1 influenza virus. It affected around 500 million people in the world. Even people on remote islands like the Pacific islands and in the Arctic were infected by it. It resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million, that’s three to five percent of the world’s population. The disease quickly swept across the world in just over a year starting around January of 1918. In the United States, life expectancy dropped by about 12 years because of this deadly disease. The virus spread even more rapidly because of the conditions like malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps, and hospitals, poor hygiene.
7. Mount Tambora Eruption:
When Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it was recorded one of the most powerful volcanic explosions in the history. Located on the island of Sumbawa in present-day Indonesia, Mount Tambora’s eruption increased steaming and small phreatic eruptions that occurred during the next six months to three years. The ash made from the eruption string scattered around the world and lowered global temperatures at such a rate that it soon became to be known as the Year Without a Summer in 1816. The eruption also caused a tsunami that killed more than 10,000 people. The event triggered such a climate change that has not been observed after any other large volcanic eruption since the early Stone Age. The ensuing starvation caused over 80,000 people to die.
8. Soviet Nuclear False Alarm:
Another nuclear false alarm happened during Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov was left in charge of a command center near Moscow. On September 26, 1983, one of Petrov’s computers began sending him warnings that five American intercontinental ballistic missiles were incoming and fast. Petrov was given the responsibility to inform his higher-ups at the first likelihood of an incoming attack. Fortunately, thinking about the lives of hundreds of innocent beings and his own Petrov decided not to call in the warning. Later, it turned out the warning was just a system malfunction, caused by rare solar alignment messing with the Soviet radar satellite that had transmitted the false alarm. If Petrov had informed the higher-ups that day, who knows how many of the innocent beings would have survived the human-made destruction.
9. The Carrington Event:
In the 1800s, between August 28th to September 2nd planet earth experienced its wildest geomagnetic storms in recorded history. All the ways of communication were wiped out causing numerous electrical failures and accidents. It was discovered that the solar storms caused a huge solar flare known as a Coronal Mass Ejection or CME. Fortunately, it didn’t cause any destructive events on earth just a couple of days without telegraphs and some strange weather.
10. The Rise of CFCs:
One of the events that freaked out everyone was when in 1985 scientists confirmed that a certain type of chemicals widely used in many modern products was ripping a hole in the atmospheric ozone layer. If the Ozone layer which is responsible for shielding earth’s surface from the most harmful of the sun’s rays gets ripped off, it will become a threat to every living creature on earth. Global temperature was rising and the situation was getting worse. Those terrifying chemicals were discovered to be the chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs that were found in everything from aerosols to air conditioners. Lucky for us, the governments of the world took quick actions and set new rules were made that limited or banned the use of CFC.