5+ Most Likely Ways the World (As We Know it) Will End

First Published: September 24, 2012 Last updated: April 15th, 2019 Written by: Ian Stephens Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes Posted in: Editorials

Look around you. Of the next ten people you see, it’s likely one of them believes the world is coming to an end on Dec 21, 2012 (Reuters). And there is a good chance they are right.

Why Dec 21, 2012? That’s the day the Mayan “long calendar” returns to zero. The last time it did that was 3114 B.C. The Mayan calendar returning to zero is considered to be a doomsday prophecy.

But how? What catastrophe will take place to wipe us off the face of the earth? There are plenty of ways we could meet our collective demise! Let’s look at the top five most likely ways the world will end in 2012.


A pandemic is a very real threat that could spread quickly and impact major populations. There have been four different historically significant flu epidemics, as well as other threats like SARS and HIV. Some scientists say that another major epidemic is almost assured. In 1918, a flu outbreak eradicated more people than were killed in World War I. If a similar deadly virus broke out today, it would spread significantly faster and infect much more of the world’s population.


The threat is not just from Mother Nature. Mankind’s own biological weapons could be the evil stroke of destiny that eradicates us all. Anthrax, cholera, and Ebola are all examples of biological phenomena that man has at one time or another made into a weapon.

Nuclear Holocaust

Many countries now possess nuclear capabilities in today’s world. On top of the destruction from the nuclear weapons, the radiation and contamination of food, water and air, and the elimination of power supplies affecting medical, transportation and communication efforts would create chaos. The following nuclear winter would seal the deal.

Nuclear bomb exploding

Nuclear weapons being detonated would put huge amounts of debris and smoke into the Earth’s atmosphere, which would reduce sunlight for a very long time, possibly years. The nuclear winter would create severe cold and hinder farming, planting and growing food.

In the early 1980s, a monitoring outpost near Moscow Russia received information that five nuclear missiles had launched from the United States and were heading toward Russia. The supervising officer was skeptical about the new equipment they had just installed, and decided to wait for more information. That was a good call–it turned out to be a false alarm.

While the Cold War is over, nuclear threat remains from old enemies and new. There are many terrorist cells and hate groups around the world. In 2008, a study from Physics Today reported that a regional war involving 100 bombs would plunge the planet into icy temperatures. The report said that a war involving thousands of nuclear weapons would basically eliminate most of the universe’s inhabitants.

Super Volcano

Several million years ago, a huge volcano erupted in the Northwest United States, sending miles of ash into the Earth’s atmosphere. The blast was thousands of times bigger than the amount of debris Mount Saint Helens sent into the Earth’s atmosphere in 1980. If a super volcano erupted today, it would impact the earth on a huge scale. There would be a huge loss of life, and airplanes could not travel for years.

Supervolcano at Yellowstone

We may be in for a super volcano blast soon because they take place around every 600,000 years. The last one was 640,000 years ago.

Although there is plenty of publicity about the dangers of global warming, the result of a super volcano would put enough particles in the air to block the sun, plunging our planet into icy storage. If the earth is covered in ice long enough, solar energy would be reflected back into the surrounding space settling earth into an icy state. Some scientists believe that the earth already has been in an ice age, completely frozen over, and the situation was remedied by some strong volcanic springs that turned the tide.

Zombie Apocalypse

Zombies are often portrayed in movies and TV as almost cartoonlike figures. However, we are surrounded by many aggressive viruses that could create proto-zombies. Rabies is an example of a virus that makes humans violent. If rabies were to spread through the atmosphere, you would have the equivalent of a zombie apocalypse. Many scientists agree that a rabies-based flu is possible.

Lone Zombie

Parasites are another way zombies could be created. For example, a parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii changes the brain. It is a single celled parasite that is spread by rats. The parasite infects the rat’s brains, and makes them even more likely to be eaten by cats. This is because the rats with infected brains don’t respond to cat scent, making them vulnerable to a cat’s attack. If a similar process took place in humans, it would not be long before zombielike humans are wandering the earth.

Robot Takeover

Technology is advancing so fast that some believe in the year 2012 a computer will become self-aware, and learn to duplicate itself, and take over the world. Very quickly, they would take over financial systems, medical hospitals and transportation hubs. Artificial intelligence allows computers to become smarter. Within a short period time they could learn to control all systems and eradicate humans.

Scene from I, Robot

Some experts, like scientist Stephen Hawking, believe that this is a real threat. Who’s to say that the reality we experience right now isn’t some computer program run by smart machines?

Less Likely (But Possible) Methods of Destruction

If these five scenarios aren’t enough to get us, there are some other possibilities that could send us to our maker. Some are dangers from the natural world. Others are man-made, self-inflicted wounds that could have been avoided. Here are even more ways that the world may end in 2012:

Solar Storms

Every 11 years the sun is more active–2012 represents a peak of solar activity including flares and solar storms. Solar storms produce tremendous amounts of electromagnetic radiation. They also produce huge gas bubbles containing magnetic fields. These giant plasma balls shoot toward Earth, and when they arrive, release tremendous amounts of visible energy. They emit giant static discharges that can knock out power supplies. Also, solar flares can hit the earth within a few minutes from shooting off the sun, and can have disastrous results.

Solar mass ejection

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States says that our power systems are so interconnected a large sun flare up could cut power to over 130,000,000 residents in the U.S. alone. The problems would take years to repair, and cost trillions of dollars.

Solar storms could be disastrous to Earth. In 2011, a solar storm catapulted particles at the earth at 4 million miles per hour, affecting the Northern Lights. It could be seen as far south as the southern United States. The Earth’s magnetic field takes care of the danger to some extent, as it absorbs much of these particles. Still, the particles create strong currents that can affect power grids for months, ruining major economies.

Planet X

The 10th planet in our solar system is known as Nibiru, or Planet X. The Planet X theory says that Nibiru’s orbit will come into the gravitational pull of the Earth sometime in 2012. This will cause major worldwide earthquakes, flooding and other destruction.

Nibiru, Planet X colliding with Earth.

People that believe this theory point to weather data and earthquake records that show increasing influence from Planet X. They also point to historical Egyptian records that indicate the last time Planet X came close to the earth, it resulted in the great flood of Noah, and Atlantis being covered with water as it sank to the bottom of the ocean.

Many astronomical experts say there’s really no evidence to back up the Planet X theory. There’s also the story that many Planet X proponents originally thought that the Planet X phenomena would take place in 2003, and when it didn’t they changed their prediction to 2012. Too convenient.

Electromagnetic Pulse

The damage from a hand grenade is not only from the shrapnel of the exploding shell. Even more destructive is the increase in air pressure around the grenade. It can scramble a human’s brain.

In a similar way, a nuclear blast can create a large electromagnetic radiation pulse that could wipe out transportation, communications and medical structures in an instant. For example, a blast over North America would kill over 90% of human inhabitants within 12 months, according to a study by the Congressional EMP commission.

Electromagnetic pulse from a Nuclear bomb.

The electromagnetic pulse could also happen from solar activity. The destruction level would depend on how close to the earth’s surface that the electromagnetic pulse took place.

Huge Asteroid

Although Hollywood has entertained us with Armageddon and Deep Impact, the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth is very real. Many people have seen craters on the moon. Those are the results of hundreds of objects impacting the moon over a long period of time.

A huge asteroid impacting Earth.

If an asteroid a mile wide hit the Earth at extremely high speed, it would wipe out most of the animal, human and plant life on the planet. If you were unfortunate enough to survive, you would live in a world of ash-filled air and no food.

GammaRay Bursts

When a star passes on and explodes, it uses up all of its nuclear fuel and collapses into a black hole, pulling stars and other matter into it. Next, powerful gamma rays filled with charged particles would shoot into the surrounding stars.

Artists impression of a gamma ray burst.

These GammaRay bursts can be observed by scientists on earth. But anything in their path is killed quickly. The danger zone can be as wide as 3000 light years. There is a GammaRay burst in your average, everyday galaxy about every 10 million years. That means that the chance of us being impacted is small.

Ocean Acidification

After the dinosaurs passed from the face of the earth, carbon dioxide increased significantly in the Earth’s atmosphere. The waters of the oceans became very acidic as they absorbed carbon dioxide. The result was extinction for many species.

The problem is carbon dioxide is again on the rise. It’s rising 10 times faster than ever before. Scientists in England have created models, and report the damage is most visible in coral reefs around the world’s oceans.

Ocean Acidification

If the reefs die off, it would be disastrous for 25% of the animals in the ocean. Many cities on our coasts would experience giant storms and huge waves. The destruction of the reefs would create worldwide economic and environmental problems.

The good thing is that ocean acidification does not seem to be an immediate threat to humans. The acid levels would attack deep-water animal life, but would probably not affect the fish caught by major commercial vessels.

Geomagnetic Reversal

While the magnetic North Pole is near the rotational North Pole, that wasn’t always the case. Many times throughout the earth’s life, the North and South have swapped magnetic poles. This is called geomagnetic reversal. It takes place only occasionally, between 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. The last one was 780,000 years ago. A magnetic reversal would cause the geomagnetic field to collapse temporarily, which would throw off power grids, communication satellites and energy pipelines.

Earth's Magnetic Field

Artificial Black Hole

The danger of atomic weaponry is not limited to the immediate destruction the weapon can render. A man sued to shut down the Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York, in 1999 because he said that the collision of subatomic particles would create small black holes that would grow until the earth was swallowed up.

Artificial black hole created by Chinese lab

While the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory has not created any black holes, the same man is saying the same thing could happen at Europe’s large Hadron Collider. Scientists dismiss his claims, explaining that there is not enough energy in the colliders to produce black holes, and that cosmic rays in space contain much more energy.

The X Factor

There are some X factors that may not be conceivable in our present understanding, but may be potential dangers in the future. Several scientists believe there are threats we do not fully understand yet.

X-Factor: Quantum Shift

For example, there is a theory of “vacuum decay,” which states that our world might shift to different quantum state, effectively destroying everything inside it. Another theory says that invisible structures known as branes could smash into each other, also producing an apocalypse.

Astronomer Derrick Fox told Popular Mechanics he believes these theories are interesting but unlikely.

Yes, it’s possible that there are things out there in the universe there could be a threat to life on earth that we don’t know about yet, Fox says. But I don’t think these are the things we need to be most worried about. Every night, astronomers are looking into the universe, looking back 10 billion or more years into the past, and they’ve never seen any signs of the source of (these) things.

The Top Five and A Few Extra

There you have it. The top five most likely ways the world will end in 2012, and a few extra dangers just as a backup. Because if we don’t get hit with a pandemic, nuclear holocaust, super volcano, zombies, or robots taking over, there’s always a chance we’ll see solar storms, damage from Planet X, a huge electromagnetic pulse, asteroids, GammaRay bursts, or ocean acidification.

Either way, the clock is ticking. And time is running out.

About Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is an editor and writer for UFO Insight. He has a keen interest in the fields of strange phenomena, UFOs and aliens. He is also interested in space, physics and science in general. Writing for over 10 years in these fields, Ian has a lot of experience and knowledge to share.

You can contact Ian via email.

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  • TheBigOne says:

    I figured out what prevented the world from ending is actually the chemtrails to prevent the great awakening needed to rise us spiritually. The chemtrails block the spiritual energy from entering into us from beyond.

    They are trying to artificially extend time to continue their charade whatever it may be to keep us fighting in religious wars and resource cover ups by many world government.

  • Pierre D says:

    Very interested to read all the end of world possibilities. The end will certainly come eventually, one way or the other. However, all this is just about the end of physical existence but there is much more. I watched a TV progamme on UK TV a couple of weeks ago ‘How big is the universe?’ That was good but I was saddened at the end when the president of the Royal Society was interviewed. He said some scientists believe in God but he, himself, is not religious because you cannot prove scientifically anything spiritual.

    My comment to this is – have you noticed that you do not get old (in your head), only the other people around you age! That is because we are incarnated spirits occupying physical bodies to enable us to interract with a physical world. Our spirits do not age: I am 75 but my spirit is like when I was a boy. St Paul said that ‘we live in an earthly tent’ – we are just here temporarily like campers and one day we will leave our bodies behind and continue into eternity. Where we go depends on our lives here and what we have done with the abilities we have for good or bad. Yes, the Earth will eventually end, but we can already be embarked on eternal life. God has His purposes in everything and we cannot seperate God from creation, the world or our individual lives.

    • Ian Stephens says:

      Spot on Pierre; I second that completely.

  • Law L. says:

    There you have it – a true cross-section perspective of the human race. For the most part, we think we have it all figured out. For what we’re not sure of – we invent theories.

    I believe what is obvious is that we really don’t have any idea – and have no way of knowing – what the future holds – rendering any discussion in that regard as “pure speculation” from whomever – be it the Mayans, philosophers, scientists, religion…we as humans can’t accept that we do not possess the ability to know the future…that is our reality.

  • Greg C. says:

    If it’s true the world will end how come there are no going out of business or bargain sales. I’ve been waiting and waiting, can you imagine the deals on practically everything. It’ll be fantastic!

  • Loren says:

    As a Christian I am not worried. Take comfort in Psalm 23 and that Jesus is coming again. This requires faith. I pray some of the previous people who have commented would find that faith.

  • Ken says:

    The world is a mess right now. It’s at its worst in history. Indeed there is a lot of evil out there and people playing God with things like GMO foods, Nuclear weapons, Chem Trail spraying of aluminium and barium.

    There is however hope. People all over the world are waking up to what is going on. If you would like to know more then go watch the movie Thrive. What on earth will it take. Its free for all to see at the Thrive movement web site. If you don’t believe it that sort of thing. It is very entertaining to say the least. Go learn and make a difference.

  • robert says:

    Jesus himself said that even he did not know when the end would be only his father knows. I pity the man who does not believe he is not the son of GOD. All knees shall bow and confess that he is the son of GOD on that day.

  • Bobby says:

    I can tell you it will not happen, it’s impossible. I live on an island where I wanted parking outside of my house and the local island development committee said no. A friend of mine wanted a roof light put in; the IDC said no… the list goes on. So in short, tsunami astroid, planet x, solar flares; all rubbish they won’t get IDC permission either, so sleep tight see u in 30 years time guys and girls lmao!

  • ken blyth says:

    look at the moon that was once like the earth take note!!

  • jimme says:

    Why worry about something that might happen when you could be enjoying what you have right now.

  • Matthias says:

    The Bible predicts a whole lot of things, most of which are even more unlikely than Armageddon. Not to speak of all the contradictions in there.
    This is the Internet, you can find them yourself.

    Stop proselityzing on science fora.

  • Frank says:

    “IF” the Mayan long calendar went to zero in the year 3114 BC, why didn’t the earth end then? Why would clear-thinking people believe that the earth will cease to exist just because the end of a calendar is at hand? My understanding is that we do not have a large percentage (90% or more) of the Mayan documents because they were destroyed by Conquistadors. More than likely, what we DON’T have will fully explain what we DO have. Translated, that means we don’t have nearly enough evidence to make rational and reasonable conclusions; only irrational and unreasonable ones.

  • J.j says:

    I hope it happens the world its so beautiful for man they out there killing robing making wars drugs so many things that I really don’t like to see hunger,poor man I just want to to leave in peace to get along I don’t know I just want to see leave in a wander full world

  • Ulf says:

    According to the Bible it is not possible to determine the exact time. The end is near but probably not for at least five years. Just before the end of mankind Jesus will arrive and stop the disaster. Read the bible and you will understand.

    • william says:

      I have 100% faith that God exists, however i do not believe in religion. Religion is something that can be changed and corrupted by man.

      There are even official church documents that have been discovered that prove Jesus was not the son of God and that he was a prophet who only wanted to save the Jews and not the rest of humanity.

      • xfspazx says:

        I believe God & Science can Co-Exist. The more I learn about the Universe the stronger my belief in God becomes. I can’t wait to find out what will be waiting for me on the other side.

  • Bulldawg1959 says:

    One thing that could guarantee the world coming to an end is if Obama is re-elected!

    • jeru says:

      indeed because every president before him got us most of the way there.

    • Ken says:

      That was awsome and totally correct. Good one.

  • Sandy McCallum says:

    How and when ‘the end’ comes about is always a good topic for speculative discussion, but the point is our ‘end’ will happen. Our lives as individuals will come to an end, just as the life of planet earth will end. As a Christian I take comfort from believing that there is life beyond ‘the end’ and that there is a Creator who gives us a purpose and point to our life right here and now[ie. an ‘end’] which is that we relate to Him now and we will enjoy Him forever. Love Him, love your neighbour…NOW… that’s life!

  • Ralph Miller says:

    So what? Do you mean all of us will die; we will not know it, so again, I say, so what?

    Lots of people talk about the world ending. What do they mean? The planet Earth being destroyed? No way. Gravity will hold it all together if lumps. Maybe the surface is destroyed so that life cannot continue, but this mass will remain right here circling the Sun.

    Get real folks. There is no way the Mayans could know anything we could not. End of the Earth is a fantasy. If it happens, it will be slow and likely unpleasant. In some number of years, all of us will have died. So what?

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