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Any ‘Impact Event’ of any significant magnitude (size of a football stadium or larger), will be the definition of catastrophic. People who are fairly local to the impact will likely be incinerated. If they are luck enough to have been sheltered from the blast heat their fate may still reat with the miles high tsunamis (if oceanic impact) to follow, or if land impact, hurricane force fire storms for starters along with a side of fire and brimstone raining down on top of you. As the forces of the impact begin to bleed off the initial blast forces that are propogating outward from ground zero in all directions evolve into a geographic convection oven until all combustible materials are all consumed. Even if you somehow were to survive this initial onslaught, you would almost certainly be dealing with a total societal collapse and the collapse of state, local and federal governments. In other words, the rule of law would come to an abrupt end. However, this would be the least of your immediate concerns, but if you manage to survive the hell on the horizon, Mad Max is probably where things would be headed for the last of humanities survivors. In the near term the devastation to the food chain would be complete, but dependent upon the type of impact, wheteher oceanic or terrestrial and the area of the planet impacted. For example, a terrestrial impact would create massive and abrupt global cooling due to the dust and debris generated by the impact that gets trapped in the atmosphere. This debris would block out the sun. No sun, no plants, no plants, no animals… This would be similar to what you’d expect in a total nuclear exchange by the former super powers. The alternative, is likely far more likely (law of averages) and far more devastating. In an oceanic impact, there would be runaway global warming driven by the release of the #1 greenhouse gas (hint, it’s not CO2), water vapor! Water vapor causes the planet to heat becasue it traps the suns rays instead of blocking them out. The heating caused by this ejecta into the atmosphere would initiate the melting of both ice caps. This too would also cause a collapse of the ecosystem. However, this would almost certainly collapse both terrestrial and oceanic food chains. This would be tied to the flood of freezing cold glacial waters being dumped into the oceans. It’s not as widely known, but the gulfstream currents that run up and down the East and West Coasts respectively drive terrestrial weather, but also are intrinsic to the ecosystem of the entire planets oceans and the creatures living in and on the earth.
Okay Paul, how likley is this to happen, the impact killing the Dinosaurs was 6.5 M years ago. True, but only recently have scientists begun understading what happened at the end of the last ice age, A period called the ‘Younger Dryas’. A lot of geological revelations have come forth over the last decade and there is substantial evidence to suggest our ancestors 12,900 years ago may have almost nearly gone the way of the dinosaurs. Although this is still under debate in academia the evidence is beginning to look overwhelming in favor of this happening. When the younger-dryas came to a close, it was apocalyptic for those living at that time. I’m not the most religious person having grown up Roman Catholic, but what occurred is very eerily similar to the account of Noah’s flood. These flood legends are exclusive to Christianity, there are 240+ flood myths from in cultures that span the globe. Interstingly, some of these stories are nearly identical to that of Noah’s flood. Consider the percentage of people in the modern world that live on the coast. If events unfolded as they may have 12,900 years ago, anyone living on the coast would have been consumed by the ocean. The geologic younger-Dryas barrier consist of a black matte layer visible in cross sections of the earths crust. Scientists can definitively state that in some areas, coastal area waters rose by 30ft – 40ft quite literally overnight (24-48hr period). Over the next couple of hundred years, the waters continued to rise by another 200ft – 300ft as the Polar regions continued to melt before they stabilized as they exist today. So, how likely, not very, at least in our lifetimes, but considering the fact NASA often finds these extinction level size space rocks often as they are passing or just prior to passing the earth, I would’t place my bets on them going all Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck on us and saving the world. You might want to have your, “just in case stash ready”! 🙂
P.S. The Restoration of Emergency Services link here may be pretty helpful for those fortunate enough to make it through to the otherside of this Darwinian equation scenario.
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