When predicting apocalyptic events we need to first decide what kind of disaster to send forth. Obviously it needs to be something big with huge cost to human life, what would be the point otherwise. Despite this I would recommend wannabe soothsayers start small, just to get the feel. To give you some idea I've listed below a few areas that can be explored.
- War - a bit old hat now and predicting one is pretty unremarkable.
- Natural Disasters - these are always good to guess, particularly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
- Extra-terrestrial - meteors, solar flares, planet alignment, can all give clues
Of course there is no need to choose just one, a combination can be a clincher against doubters. Mix and match, it can be fun. For our example I am going to use a combination of Natural and Extra-terrestrial events but I'm going to keep it small - you only get one shot at predicting the end of the world. My advice to those who choose to go with the War format I would suggest looking at ethnic groups and disputed land. From there you can speculate who will side with who and predict something a little less obvious. The Middle East is a no-brainer, people have been killing each other there before they even knew about fossil fuels.
The knock-on affect would be a Palestinian uprising during the crisis and the Plains of Megiddo could indeed trigger a war to end all wars. There are other places to look at, North Korea is an obvious one, yet I feel they are a long way off being a real threat to global security. Nope, if you want to predict war and unrest the Middle East is a pretty sure thing.
Natural disasters are another fail-safe area to predict. If you just look along the tectonic plate boundaries there are any number of places a disaster could occur. The most populous areas are best for obvious reasons but it's best to pick one that hasn't caused a problem for a while. New Zealand is in a unique location as the tectonic plate boundary has two different motions. In the South Island the plates rub alongside each other causing earthquakes, whereas in the North the Australian Plate subducts below the Pacific Plate which results in more volcanic activity.
After recent earthquakes in the South perhaps it indicates the North will spring to life again. The volcanoes are still very active. The most recent associated disaster was back in 1953 when a lahar took out a railway bridge at Tangiwai, and by consequence the Auckland to Wellington passenger train. Before that it was Mount Tarawera in 1886 which covered a village Pompeii style. These were devastating for New Zealand but had very little impact on the rest of the world. However Lake Taupo last exploded around 2,000 years ago and they heard the bang in China. The Romans too recorded associated phenomena from the time.
Italy is another possibility for volcanic conflagration as the African Plate collides with the European. Etna and Stromboli are constantly active which releases the pressure sufficiently to suggest a big one unlikely. What about another Vesuvius eruption though, the volcano is still active and a similar event to 79 AD could see Naples become the new Pompeii / Herculaneum. In 1631 an explosive eruption killed 4,000 people. The list of possible disaster sites are endless and you don't even have to guess. There is an even safer bet.
Sea-levels are set to continue rising so predicting major flooding is perhaps too obvious. However with a little lateral thinking you can stay one step ahead with your prophecies. Consider the tipping point, that point of no return when a bottle for example has been gently pushed over until it gains momentum and accelerates. The idea being that although the disappearance of the polar caps has been a relatively gradual process (in human timescale not geological), the end will happen very quickly indeed. I conservatively guess in another 40 years, experts say 100 or more. Timing can be crucial when predicting future events so we must use ambiguity without seeming to do so.
Monarchs are good for this. If we look at the current Royal family we can make a few more guesses. In 40 years the Queen and Prince Charles will probably have popped their clogs and William if still alive would be 73 years old. Giving the experts more credit than they deserve, let's say the total meltdown will occur after my estimate. This would mean there is a good chance Prince William's first-born will be on the throne as George VII. Then you have your time span "During the reign of George VII great floods...." and also some flexibility depending if and how long Georgie reigns for.
Look for other clues that others may not have spotted, or that are not common knowledge. Most people know about the Canary Islands and the imminent possibility of a land-slide that could dump half a mountain into the Atlantic. The resulting 'mega-tsunami' would devastate the east coast of America. Something that is less well known however is what is going on in Greenland. It's not so much not knowing what is happening, as not fully understanding the implications.
Greenland has the second largest body of ice in the world and it is melting. Yeah big deal we knew that. If it was to melt completely sea-levels would rise 7.2 metres (24 foot). Knew that as well, sort of. The thing that is usually overlooked is something quite different. The inland area of Greenland is uniformly flat except for the middle which is depressed by the weight of ice. If this ice is no longer there then isostasy occurs as the gravitational equilibrium between crust and mantle is restored.
I imagine this too will be a gradual process up until a point is reached where the land may just 'pop-up' for the last shove. Anything could happen but I would guess a mega-tsunami is likely. Dismissing all these and countless other scenarios from around the world. I have chosen California. The area is subject to high volumes of earthquakes due to the San Andreas Fault. As with most earthquakes two plates become jammed together and pressure builds. Eventually something gives and the sudden jerk reaction on release causes a quake.
Historically the seven largest quakes recorded are these:-
- Jan 9th 1857 - 7.9 hit Fort Tejon one person died
- Feb 24th 1892 - 7.8 hit near Baja no reported deaths
- Apr 18th 1906 - 7.8 hit San Francisco causing an estimated 3,000 deaths
- Mar 26th 1872 - 7.4 hit Owen's Valley 27 reported deaths
- Jan 31st 1922 - 7.3 hit west of Eureka no deaths
- Jul 21st 1952 - 7,3 hit Kern County 12 died
- Jun 28th 1992 - 7.3 hit Landers 3 died more than 400 injured
Now we could cheat here, but if we are trying to con gullible people into believing the crap we write, let's at least give a little value for money. The cheat would be to look at the dates, automatically the number 2 jumps out at you. Perhaps 2022 would be a good, bad omen. Anyway unlike others we won't cheat, we will instead look to the stars for help ......well one star and a few planets.
There is another date in 2040 where the innermost planets (discounting ourselves) will all be in the same part of the sky, but that again is a little too far ahead for our purposes here. Solar Maxima are handy because they seem to encourage seismic activity..... although there is no evidence to support this. The recent solar maximum was of course in 2012, a pattern suggests the most likely date for the next maximum will be around 2022-24, but we won't know until this one ends. The average solar cycle is about 11 years but can fluctuate between 9 and 12 years, Once again though that 2022 number comes up. A sign of the times?
I've had a vision! Yeah before you go all hypocritical on me read this.....
I could write the summary Nostradamus style, little poetic quattrain, or I could write it scripture style as some kind of revelation, maybe I should claim alien abduction because I'm obviously not of this planet. As there are no longer witch-hunters today I needn't hide my beliefs with metaphor, I mean who would kill another person for their beliefs in this day and age ......ridiculous. So here it is.
Late in 2022 an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale will hit San Francisco, it will cause widespread damage and will be preceded by a series of smaller quakes. One of San Francisco's famous landmarks will be destroyed.