A Survivor’s Guide to the End times

As 2012 draws to a close, apocalyptic speculation among certain circles grows more and more feverish. It seems as if there are any number of natural perils poised to sweep us away before the year is out. The recent impact of Superstorm Sandy on New York City vividly illustrated the impact of natural forces on even the wealthiest and most highly developed areas. For several days, whole areas of the US eastern seaboard were plunged back to the dark ages, with over eight million people being deprived of electricity in the teeth of a North American winter.

Apocalypse soon?

Many of the events predicted either for 2012 or sometime in the future would make the ravages of Hurricane Sandy pale in significance. No one, for instance could underestimate the effects of a large meteorite or comet hitting the earth. Even a meagre 45 metre asteroid such as 2012 DA14, scheduled for a near miss on 15th February 2013, would explode with the force of a 2.4 megaton atomic bomb should it hit us. This would carry a more than sufficient punch to wipe out a large city, or to cause a horrendously destructive tsunami should it hit the ocean. This sort of asteroid is small fry compared with some of the bigger beasts that astronomers know are out there. A direct hit from a comet fragment 1 km in diameter could cause in excess of one billion casualties and trigger long term climate change, bringing civilisation as we know it to a fiery end.

Then there are the other major natural disasters which are certain to strike us in the future, and hang over our heads like a geological sword of Damocles. Perhaps the best known of these is the ‘Supervolcano’ hissing and straining underneath Yellowstone Park. Although it has only erupted three times in the past 2.1 million years, increased pressure beneath the Wyoming park has given scientists reason to suspect that an eruption could be imminent. The ground level has swelled by three feet a year since 2004, the fastest since records began in 1923. When the Yellowstone volcano blows the explosion is estimated to be 1,000 times the magnitude of the huge Mount St Helens eruption in 1980, sending enough volcanic ash into the atmosphere to darken the Earth for several months, causing global cooling and worldwide harvest failures.

Preparing for the worst

Whatever the future holds, natural disasters invariably take people by surprise and catch them unawares. In the event that you are caught without transport or electricity for days – or even weeks, if is a sensible precaution to ensure that you have access to water purification and freeze dried food supplies to last you through the crisis. A well stocked cellar of dehydrated meals, grain and nutritional supplements will help the discerning survivalist weather all but the worst end-times scenario, and ensure that when the lights come back on, you will be able to come out smiling.

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