Earth is the birthplace of humanity. It provided food, resources, and skilled labor to colonize the solar system and for at least one thousand years was the economic center of the known galaxy. However when the mega-volcano underneath Yellowstone erupted Earth was destroyed, and now humanity reels with how to react.
Yellowstone Mega-VolcanoOver the last few million years, Yellowstone has had three massive eruptions exceeding magnitude 8 on the VEI. The last of these ejected so much material from underground that it left a 54-km-by-80-km depression in the ground known today as the Yellowstone Caldera. When the Yellowstone Mega-Volcano erupted again in XXXX AD, it ejected 1,000 cubic kilometers of material, over a period of six months. The lava flows washed over an area of 64 km, and volcanic ash was ejected high into the atmosphere. Most of the Rocky Mountains were buried in ash a meter deep, killing billions. Buildings in Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and Utah collapsed under the weight of the ash, and plant-life died as the material in the air blocked the sun for over half a year. The rest of North America was covered in 8 cm of ash, wreaking havoc on a smaller but no less serious scale. Farms were destroyed, roadways and sewers blocked, and air travel grounded. In years to come, the human death toll as a direct result of the Yellowstone mega-volcano would be estimated around two billion. Nor was the rest of the planet off the hook. The collective ash in the atmosphere lowered global temperatures by 4°C (39.2°F), disrupting every weather pattern and ecosystem on the planet. The sky darkened for almost ten years, triggering famines worldwide as crops were unable to receive the energy they normally absorbed from the sun. Solar panels, so critical to modern power systems, produced only a fraction of their prior output and nations worldwide established draconian limits on power consumption by their citizens. The polar ice caps grew back, blocking ship traffic and shedding icebergs that threatened to sink vessels even further South. The Yellowstone mega-volcano even negatively affected the colonies on Mars and the asteroid belts. These communities had never produced enough food to feed themselves, and North America had been one of the largest food producing regions on Earth. With the whole planet unable to grow enough crops, the space colonies slowly starved to death. Not since 536 AD had humanity known suffering on such a scale. Countries went to war over dwindling resources, nuclear weapons were used on civilian populations, starving survivors ate family members, and millions committed suicide to escape from the hell they were living in. From a peak population of twenty-seven billion people, Earth was reduced to eight billion within five years. Today Earth is a ruin, burdened with lingering climate change and pockets of nuclear fallout. Perhaps one day it will once again lead humanity, but for now it is unsure if it will even survive.
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