By Jim Donahue
Floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. These are just a few of the natural disasters that may befall our planet between now and December 21st, 2012. As we speak, the summer solstice is upon us, but it’s the winter solstice that we should be worrying about.
Flooding. There are several different scenarios in which massive floods may overcome our planet. One is oceanic rise. If the oceans rise, the coastal areas of the world will recede, and millions of people living in these areas will either die or have to move further inland. Global warming is currently being blamed for the Greenland ice sheets and polar cap melt off that has been going on for years. I think the majority of people are skeptical of this diagnosis, or just don’t know what to think, as scientists seem to fall on both sides of this debate. What no one can dispute is that this is happening.
If solar flare/sunspot activity on 12/21/2012 should be great enough to gain entrance to our atmosphere on this day, it could accelerate the ice melt and the oceans will rise. If the temperature of the earth’s surface rises just a few degrees, this would also happen. How quickly, obviously no one knows. One thing rapid or even gradual ice melts will do is disrupt the thermohaline circulation of water in the Atlantic Ocean, an ocean-based system of heat delivery sometimes referred to as the North Atlantic thermal conveyor belt.
The northeastern States, eastern Canada and, primarily, Europe enjoy warmer climates than they otherwise would because of the thermohaline circulation. This vast ocean conveyor sweeps warm, salty water from tropical latitudes north along the surface. After shedding heat to the atmosphere, the chilled brine becomes denser and sinks. Thousands of feet beneath the surface it flows back toward the equator, completing the loop.
But as the climate warms disproportionately at the poles, the gears of the system begin to wobble. Freshwater runoff from Greenland’s ice cap and from melting glaciers across the Arctic, combined with increased precipitation, will form a thick, buoyant cap over the North Atlantic. Already, this gigantic vortex may be sputtering. The surface of the North Atlantic is becoming noticeably less salty, and thus less driven to sink.
Thermohaline circulation shut down as recently as 8200 years ago, and some scientists contend that the Little Ice Age of 1300 to 1850 was due to a hiccup in the system. The chance of another collapse is hotly debated, in scientific circles, and may throw us into another Little Ice Age again.
Earthquakes are a distinct possibility, and tectonic shift may occur. Tectonic shift and rise can be a direct result of earthquakes, as well as the weight and motion of melting water, among other things. It may well force the earth’s mantle to rise up and reform our planet.
Volcanic eruptions are a potentially catastrophic event that could be in store for us. The caldera at Yellowstone National Park, the World’s largest volcano, is said by scientists to be overdue for an eruption. This volcano is sometimes referred to as a Super volcano. There are over 3000 recorded earthquakes at Yellowstone National Park each year, and any sort of cataclysmic event on a worldwide scale may be the spark that forces the caldera to erupt. That eruption, along with any others that may happen on that fateful day, 12/20/2012, would put enough volcanic ash into the atmosphere, as to blot out the sun for years, perhaps even decades. And then there are all the different types of gasses that will also be in the air, and oxygen purity levels will drop dramatically. Without Photosynthesis, a process whereby plants capture the suns energy to split off water’s hydrogen from oxygen. Hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide to form glucose and release oxygen. If the sun is blotted out and plants can’t grow and capture carbon dioxide, while releasing oxygen, we may lose our ability to breath, among other things. This will also have a devastating effect on the global food chain. In my opinion, this will be the start of a fatal global downward spiral, from which there will be no return.
Last but not least. Again, in my opinion, the most probable occurrence will be an eruption of the volcano at Cumbre Vieja. Cumbre Vieja is an active volcanic ridge on the volcanic ocean island of Isla de La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain. History has recorded volcanic eruptions of the Cumbre Vieja in 1470, 1585, 1646, 1677,m 1712, 1949, and 1971.
During the 1949 eruption, three vents—Duraznero, San Juan and Hoyo Negro—opened and expelled massive amounts of lava. Also during the eruption two earthquakes happened centered near Jedey. Following the earthquakes a fracture appeared, approximately two miles long, about 1/10 of the exposed length of the Cumbre Vieja. Parts of the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja ridge moved about 1 mile sideways and 2 miles downwards towards the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists have hypothesized that an eruption or even an earthquake would send the western flank of the island sliding into the Atlantic Ocean, creating a Mega Tsunami of biblical proportions. Computer models indicate the resulting gravitational landslide will enter the Atlantic Ocean and create the so called Mega Tsunami, with the initial wave estimated at some 200 feet in height, and a peak to peak height of 1 mile. Estimated speed of the wave is 600 mph. It will reach the African coast in 1 hour, southern england in about 3 to 4 hours, and the eastern seaboard of the United States in about 6 hours. The initial wave will have subsided into a succession of smaller ones each about 100 to 200 feet in height, and may swell to 400 to 600 feet high at a distance of 1 to 2 miles apart, while retaining the original speed. Computer models indicate differing inland inundation measurements, between 15 to 30 miles or more according to the volume of water.
This would greatly damage or destroy cities along the entire North American eastern seaboard, and tens of millions would be killed from Maine to Florida, and everything In between.
So there you have it. Not a pretty picture is it.
Coming next: How to prepare and survive the event.