There have been countless bold predictions of the end of the world yet the Earth keeps on ticking. Catastrophic events have set her back but Earth has
10. Nuclear War/Nuclear Winter
One of the first methods of destroying the Earth that comes to most people’s minds is a nuclear war. To be clear, it would take massive amounts of precision nuclear detonations to incinerate the earth. The aftermath of such mass nuclear explosions would be devastating. Billions of tons of radioactive blast particulate and smoke from firestorms would saturate the atmosphere and block out the Sun’s rays. This would lead to “nuclear winter” which would poison the atmosphere and cause temperatures to severely plummet for several years. This would undoubtedly lead to mass extinctions. So, if you are lucky enough to survive the initial blasts you are likely doomed nonetheless. While it is possible, it is not likely at this point in time that atomic war would destroy the Earth.
9. Natural Disasters
One of the top 10 ways Earth can be destroyed would take an almost perfect combination of natural disasters. Although the chances are remote, the possibility remains. Multiple supervolcano eruptions could usher in the end. The massive amounts of volcanic debris, gargantuan lava flows and deadly gasses would destroy the landscape and doom Earth’s population. These erupting supervolcanoes could quite possibly trigger enormous earthquakes and tsunamis. The climate would likely cool considerably, rainfall would drastically decrease and the ozone would be depleted allowing for the Sun’s unfiltered rays to further worsen things.
8. Detonation of Antimatter
While this may sound more like a sinister Hollywood movie plot, anti-matter could possibly be used to destroy the Earth. Don’t panic. Anti-matter weaponry is still a dream, or nightmare depending on how you see it. The production of anti-matter is astronomically expensive, inefficient and extremely time-consuming. At the current rate of production, it would take CERN well over 2 million years to produce a mere ½ gram of anti-matter. That ½ gram would only produce the equivalent force of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Of course, we can’t stop “progress”.
7. Climate Change
The Earth has experienced ice ages as well as drought and extreme temperatures. In recent years, a lot of attention has been focused on global warming. Whether man-made, naturally occurring or a mixture of both, global temperatures appear to be on the rise. It is widely believed that the oceans are rising due to melting ice and thermal expansion. This is thought to be a threat to Earth’s fresh water supply. Rising oceans mean decreased land mass and have been linked to increased volcanic activity. As the oceans warm they can release huge amounts of methane gas and cause deadly weather phenomena such as super typhoons. Drought, disease, and famine are just the tip of the iceberg.
6. Gamma Rays
Gamma ray bursts are highly focused explosions in which the energy is expelled in a powerful and narrow radioactive beam that travels close to the speed of light. These explosions usually occur as a result of supernovas or hypernovas. Thankfully, these gamma ray bursts only come close enough to affect Earth about once every 5 million years. Also, our Milky Way does not have an abundance of the massive bodies that are needed to ignite such an event. While the chance of Earth being directly hit by these rays is very low, it would be a catastrophic event. It would result in severe ozone depletion, lethal chemical fog and immense amounts of radiation that would gravely impact life on Earth.
5. Cooling of the Earth’s Core
For a long time, Earth’s core has been about as hot as the surface of the Sun. The core is, in essence, a solid consisting of iron and nickel with a liquid outer core. The interaction between inner and outer core is mostly responsible for the Earth’s magnetic field. So, what if the Earth’s core cooled? What if some evil genius was to develop a “core cooling device”?
Well, for starters, if the Earth’s core were to cool enough to solidify the outer core then we would almost certainly lose the Earth’s magnetic field. This in itself would be disastrous. The Earth’s surface would become exposed to the solar winds and lethal doses of the Sun’s radiation. The solar winds would likely strip the surface of the Earth (including oceans) while the Sun’s radiation would fry it. Another effect would be that volcanic activity and earthquakes would cease. The planet would be geologically dead much like Mercury.
4. The Sun
As the Sun slowly ages it increases in luminosity and emits more solar radiation. It is expected that in the next few hundred million years the Sun’s growing intensity will cause a steady increase in global temperatures that will result in the evaporation of all of Earth’s water. There are, of course, many downsides to this. Under the increasing heat of the Sun, the Earth’s surface will become a scorched wasteland. Firestorms would burn and choke the atmosphere even more. Another result would be catastrophic amounts of methane being released into the atmosphere suffocating any remaining life. In the end, the Earth will suffer the same fate as Venus before it is eventually incinerated and swallowed by the Sun. This is one of the top 10 ways Earth can be destroyed.
3. Asteroid Strike
The Earth has been bombarded by meteors since it was created. Fortunately for us, these meteors are very small and usually disintegrate before impact with the ground. However, every billion years or so, the Earth is subject to an “extinction level event” such as the asteroid that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. That asteroid is estimated to have 7 to 8 miles wide. University of Colorado geoscientist Brian Toon estimates that an asteroid measuring 60 miles wide would incinerate everybody on Earth. Keep your eyes on the skies.
2. Black Hole
The chances of Earth being consumed by a black hole any time soon is beyond remote. Still, the possibility is there. So, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend a black hole is entering our solar system. As it enters the Milky Way, the gravitational pull will consume everything in its path. Orbits will be altered and planets torn apart. If the gravitational chaos doesn’t cause Earth to collide with the moon, other planets or large debris, it would still result in cataclysmic events such as massive earthquakes and eruptions of super volcanoes. That would reduce the Earth to a magma-covered wasteland devoid of life. As the black hole gets closer the Earth will be shredded before ultimately being devoured by the black hole.
1. Death of the Sun
Not even the Sun lasts forever. It is estimated that in about 5 billion years the Sun will begin to die and this spells certain disaster for Earth. This tops the list of the top 10 ways Earth can be destroyed. As the Sun runs out of fuel it will expand greatly and transform into a “red giant”. This expanding red giant will grow into Earth’s orbit, incinerate it and then absorb what’s left. Don’t worry too much about this because it is widely believed that life on Earth will already have been long gone by then.