The recent hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico should serve as an important reminder that it’s better to be prepared for disaster before it strikes. And since nature doesn’t wait, here are the top possible “mega-disasters” to be prepared for in the near future.
The North American West is Burning
There are dozens of wildfires burning in the West, and the problem is projected by scientists to get worse in the coming years. By 2051, Harvard scientists projected that fires in Western Canada and the US could increase between 130 and 350 percent. That’s 30,000-50,000 fires annually. Ironically, “Smokey the Bear” may be somewhat at fault. The campaigns from the US and local governments to stop all forest fires (a natural occurrence in nature) have compounded the likelihood and intensities of these fires.
According to the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission, Oregon is due for an 8.0 to 9.0-magnitude earthquake within the next 50 years. The source may be from the Cascadia subduction zone, an 800-mile crack in the Earth’s crust 60 miles offshore from Oregon. This zone is created by two tectonic plates and is considered the “quietest subduction zone in the world.” However, after being silent for over three hundred years, it may be too quiet, hiding one of the biggest seismic events of the century. The commission states the earthquake could be so massive, it could split parts of the West Coast and cause a massive tsunami.
California’s “Big One”
Following the popular movie San Andreas, this may be one of the most well-known and dangerous “mega-disasters” the United States faces. While the “Big One” could occur from either the San Andreas Fault under Los Angeles or the Hayward Fault near San Francisco, it will devastate all of California. According to the US Geological Survey, the probability of a magnitude 8.0 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years has risen 30 percent.
The Sun’s Wrath
Perhaps the most dangerous and even likely “mega-disaster” the world faces is a major solar storm. According to some scientists, there’s a 12 percent chance of a major solar storm hitting Earth within the decade. Such an event could be similar to a global EMP – causing worldwide blackouts and power grid failures.