2012: The Movie

I thought it was a great movie. Action packed and just what I wanted to see that night. It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I even left with a headache from clenching my teeth. I did have a few problems with their apocalypse science.

Here’s a preview of the movie: Makes me want to go see it again!

1. Solar flares

Have happened and continue to happen. There is argument that 2012 will be a severe year for solar activity, however, the damage caused will likely be our electrical systems. This is a big concern as the last major flare knocked out telegraph systems worldwide shocking operators and setting telegraph paper on fire. This event was the Carrington Super Flare in 1859. It’s possible that a similar event could knock out electric and satellites on a massive scale causing trillions of damage and months to years to repair.

Fox News on the pontential of solar flare electricity problems:

It is highly unlikely that a new form of radiation will cause the core of the Earth to heat up at an uncontrolled rate as it does in the movie causing volcanoes to erupt, the crust to split and plates to drift at high speeds.

2. Earth Crust Displacement theory/Crust Destabilization

Hapgood (the guy who made the theory) was a historian, not a geologist. The theory has been debunked by the scientific community. Plate tectonics explain the movement of plates but their courses would not be changed by core heat. It is possible that the convection that moves the plates would accelerate, but it currently moves at such a slow rate (a couple inches a year, depending on location) that the amount of heat to accelerate the movement to the degree portrayed in the movie would be so vast as to be nearly impossible and would likely destroy the Earth in a different manner.

3. Yellowstone

There has been a lot of research done about Yellowstone Caldera and the conclusions are quite disturbing. I think that Yellowstone is one of the scariest threats to North America, if not the world. It was downplayed a lot in the movie. The Caldera used to be a ‘Super Volcano’ and erupted so violently that it destroyed itself, leaving the fascinating and beautiful Yellowstone area. Yellowstone is the largest collection of thermal features in the world. The last giant eruption, 640,000 years ago was 6000 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens. A future super eruption could explode with the force of 1 million Hiroshima bombs. A pyroclastic flow would accompany the blast, obliterating everything near-by. Falling ash and debris could kill anything within 1,000km. A lava flow large enough to coat the US to a depth of 5 inches could occur. Within minutes of the eruption tens of thousands would be dead. The long term effects would be worse. The tons of ash in the atmosphere would block out the sun, causing a nuclear winter and massive food shortages. Yellowstone tends to erupt every 600,000 years or so leaving us 40,000 years overdue. Scientists have discovered that the ground in Yellowstone is swelling upwards indicating magma activity. If Yellowstone lives up to the expectations of researchers, we could be facing an extinction level event.

Basically if the characters where all standing around when Yellowstone blew, end of movie. However, they daringly escape doom to fight another 2 hours.

Another problem with Yellowstone is that the force of the eruption could be enough to knock the Earth off the precise and perfect tilted axis that provides our temperate weather. Not by much, but even a degree or two could change life as we know it.

4. Planes

Most of this movie involves escaping to the air, but there is no way a plane could fly in the ashy conditions after Yellowstone blows.

5. Communications

Somehow, after the solar flare, volcanic eruptions and crumbling earth, people are still seen using cell phones and satellite communication. If a solar flare were to occur at this level, satellites are unprotected outside our atmosphere and would be damaged if not destroyed. I doubt that the cell phone towers would withstand the earth quakes and volcanic activity either. Especially after we are shown the ash clouds destroying Las Vegas.

6. Tsunamis

Yes, tsunamis make sense if pieces of crust are falling off into the ocean and if I ignore the previous goofs. Underwater activity would agitate the oceans and cause tsunamis as well. The boat that is capsized in open water makes no sense. Tsunamis are hardly noticeable out in deep water. Maybe a larger wave, but definitely not enough to sink a cruise ship. I have some questions about how a 1500 meter (or whatever) wave was nearing the peak of Everest at some 29,000 feet (or more, don’t quote me on that number) but it’s kind of silly at this point.

7. Africa being the last land mass left/first to resurface

I don’t really understand why Africa is left or resurfaces first (it wasn’t clear to me what happened exactly). It may be a nod to the cradle of life or the area’s fertile grounds breeding civilization by agriculture, but it may just be a coincidence. My major problem with this is that Africa is already on an unstable continental plate. Africa is on a plate that is being pulled apart and thinning, as California is doing in Baja, but it hasn’t been as pronounced. Lake Victoria and some nearby lakes in South-Eastern Africa are being formed by this process. The entire rift valley should have been destroyed by the same process that swallowed up California.

8. Pole reversal & magnetic shield

They mentioned the poles reversing in the movie. If this had happened, the Earth’s magnetic field that protects us from solar wind (radiation) would be comprised for an untold amount of time. During that time, we’d get fried by the radiation. Apparently, the only change in the movie is that the South Pole moved to Wisconsin.

9. What happened to the core radiation? At the beginning of the movie we hear that the core is heating up and causing all this. After all the volcanoes and flooding and all that, it’s fine now? Unlikely. If the core were to start generating more heat (it already generates radiation and heat), it wouldn’t end there. The strata of the earth (the core, inner core, outer core, mantle, etc) would eventually become unstable causing further heating reactions, accelerating the process. (That’s bad)

There are many more little mistakes, but I understand that it’s just a movie and that things need to be tweaked to make the story work and not be completely depressing. I did really enjoy this movie. It was stressful and fast paced and made me say ‘wow’ as I left.

Basically, if something were to happen, it’d be better to just stay put and die rather than extend your misery because there is little to no way that you will survive. Life on this planet is fragile and any changes, even miniscule can destroy life on Earth. It is unlikely that the world will end in our lifetime, but there are a multitude of theories about how it will all happen. I’m not worried about any imminent destruction, but I am absolutely fascinated by it.

*The likely hood of any of these scenarios in our lifetime is unlikely (excepting the solar flare that could knock out electric) and I personally do not buy that the world will end in 2012. However, if it does, I plan to spend my last day with my loved ones and accept that it is time.

***I do not profess to be any sort of scientist or have any professional knowledge on these subjects, only what I have learned in college and the things I have come across in recent research

~ by accordingtoleanne on December 13, 2009.

7 Responses to “2012: The Movie”

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