Earthquakes, a disruption of Earth’s rotation, being hit by an errant planet, and magnetic pole shift have all been forecast for December 21, 2012. These scenarios have been inspired by the ending of the Mayan calendar on that date, by indigenous predictions, religious fears and various scientific sources.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) says point blank “Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.” So why do people continue to imagine chaos in 2012?
"The Mayans warned us!” Stephen Colbert, a talk show host, has claimed, regarding “2012” (the movie), “assuming they warned us that one day computer graphics would strip movies of any plot or characterization and turn them into mindless orgies of destruction porn." End of the world scenarios get people’s attention and so the entertainment business follows. The History Channel has demonstrated their understanding of this concept with at least five programs promoting 2012 as “the apocalypse”, including; Last Days on Earth, 2012; End of Days; Seven Signs of the Apocalypse and 2012 Apocalypse. However, there are other voices with less profit at stake predicting Earth changes at this time.
Mayan priest Carlos Barrios says that anthropologists have relied on their own imagination to read Mayan inscriptions. He says the Mayan prediction is that the world will be transformed during the time leading up to 2012, which does not mean that it will end. Other respected Mayan elders explain that "apocalypse" is a Western concept. There seems to be a refrain among contemporary Maya that this period of time is a transition from one world age into another. Apocalyptic visions seem to be ingrained however, in western culture.
All Shook Up
“Are Earthquakes on the increase? No. Are they a warning of greater judgment to come? Yes, just as Amos and Isaiah warned the Northern and Southern Kingdoms respectively of a violent Earthquake to come, and their words were confirmed by that Earthquake a few years (25 years really) later…The 1994 Northridge Earthquake hit the pornography industry very hard.... He has given them a warning and longs for them to trust Him as their Savior...” So says the Bible Archaeology website. Many other Christian groups have proclaimed hurricanes, floods and tornados as God’s retribution for lifestyles these groups consider sinful. The United States Geological Service explains the seeming increase of Earthquakes in the last decade as a growth in the number of seismograph stations that detect such activity. “According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 17 major Earthquakes (7.0 - 7.9 on the richter scale) and one great Earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year.” There seems to be a pattern of larger Earthquakes for about ten years at a time. The last 25 years has seen an increase in the knowledge of the lower intensity Earthquakes because of more seismograph stations and improved global communications. The USGS database shows that there is a 7.192% chance of a major earthquake within 50 kilometers of Cotopaxi, Colorado within the next 50 years. The largest earthquake on record in that area was a 4.4 magnitude in 2007. The Big Shift? A shift of the Earth on its axis has been entertained as a 2012 event. This is the hypothesis that the axis of rotation of our planet can change. One of the astronomical events that is cited as having the potential to pull the Earth off of its axis is the planetary alignment that some say will occur on December 21, 2012.
Knowing that the moon’s pull causes tides, it seems logical to assume that all the planets of our system lining up might have a strong effect on the Earth also. While a strong enough gravitational field could pull a planet from its orbit, or a strong enough tidal force could rip it in half, the other planets in our system would have to be close enough to cause that effect. Gravity and tidal force can be calculated from the mass of an object and its distance from the Earth. The strength of the gravitational pull from a planet is determined by the square of the distance from the Earth. If the distance is doubled, for instance, the force of gravity drops by half. Tidal force also diminishes with distance but that is calculated by the cube of the distance from Earth. Since the nearest planet is much further from us than the moon we won’t experience much tidal force or gravitational pull from them. It is not so surprising then, that the most recent planetary alignments of May 5th, 2000 and October of 2008, seem to have had no effect on the Earth. Would a planetary alignment in 2012 be any different?
It might be more accurate to use the term planetary configuration than “alignment” as each planetary orbit is tilted. Alignments do occur about every 200 years. That is, all of the planets are on the same side of the Sun and within the same 90° quadrant. Astronomers say that an exact alignment with the center of the galaxy will not happen on the December 2012 solstice.
There is also a galactic alignment referred to in 2012 doomsday predictions. The sun began to align with the Galactic equator in 1998. Our solar system will take about 36 years to move through the Galactic equator. So this galactic alignment is more of an “era” than a pin-point date. The galactic alignment occurs every 26,000 years, and seems to be what the ancient Maya were pointing to with the 2012 end-date of their Long Count calendar. The Mayan oral tradition speaks of recognizing the truth from the false at this time, as do the “Laika” or sages of the similar pre-Inca culture.
Falling From the Sky
Another theory is that the Earth will be hit by Planet X, sometimes called Niburu, which will cause the poles to shift. Niburu was named by the Sumarians and estimated to intersect with our orbit about every 3,600 years. Some people feel this theory fits in neatly with the biblical prophecy of the planetary body Revelations calls Wormwood… “A great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell on one third of the rivers, and on the springs of the waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood. One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter”. Some people believe Nibiru is hidden behind the Sun, but of course anything that’s “behind” the Sun would be visible within a month as the Earth continues in its orbit around that star. Any heavenly body at least the size of Jupiter, in order to reach Earth in the next few years, would have to be closer than the orbit of Saturn—making it easily visible to not only large observatories, but also amateurs with telescopes. The Naval Observatory astronomer, Thomas Van Flandern, and others, suggested in 1981 that there may be a planet three times larger than Earth in an eccentric orbit beyond Pluto that would explain the unexpected orbit of other planets. In the early 1990s, however, data from the Voyager 2 spacecraft showed that the previously inexplicable orbit of Uranus was due to an overestimation of Neptune's mass, not to a rogue planet. Though most of the astronomical community has abandoned the idea of Planet X, some do continue to search for evidence of this planet-comet-or brown dwarf.
NASA believes that the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012 began with Nibiru. “This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.” Whether or not this heavenly body exists, it seems that it would be detected some time before making an appearance.
The Hopi predictions are similar to the Maya in proclaiming this a time of purifying ourselves of negativity in preparation for a new era of community. Eight signs are said to be fulfilled, the ninth is that a “blue star” will fall out of the heavens with a great crash. There are varying opinions about what this blue star could be and whether it has already “crashed” or not. Those include the comet Holmes (exploding in 2007) and the crash of space station Mir.
Geomagnetic reversal is the periodic turnaround of the Earth's magnetic field. The scientific community gives more credence to the possibility of a geomagnetic reversal than to the pole shift hypotheses. NASA’s website, http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/29dec_magneticfield.htm, explains some of the current knowledge on geomagnetic reversal.
Through analysis of palaeomagnetic data, we now know that the field has reversed its orientation tens of thousands of times since its formation very early on in Earth history. With the increasingly accurate Global Polarity Timescale (GPTS) it has become apparent that the rate at which reversals occur has varied considerably throughout the past. … all reversals on Earth seem to occur during periods of low field strength. Scientists have long known that the magnetic pole moves. . . Are we overdue for another? No one knows.
John Roach for National Geographic News in September of 2004 says that the Earth's magnetic field is fading. It is about 10 percent weaker than it was when German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss started keeping track of it in 1845. It is possible that with further weakening the field will collapse and then reverse. Physicists are still unsure if the current loss of field intensity indicates a total loss and then reversal of the global field, or just a temporary break from what we consider normal. The interval between reversals of the magnetic field seem to be random, as far as science today can determine. There is geologic evidence that even in the middle of past magnetic pole shifts the Earth’s field strength has not gone down to zero. Significant effects may still be noticed.
Without our planet's magnetic field, Earth would be subjected to more cosmic radiation. The increase could knock out power grids, scramble the communications systems on spacecraft, temporarily widen atmospheric ozone holes, and generate more aurora activity. A number of Earth's creatures, including some birds, turtles, and bees, rely on Earth's magnetic field to navigate.
The World Health Organization states that it does not believe that people can perceive or react to the low-level electromagnetic field of the Earth. Although, apparently, cattle and deer do. German and Czech researchers found these animals tend to align themselves with magnetic north when at pasture. Mammals and birds carry biogenic magnetite in their brains that helps them relate to directions and navigate. Researchers at CALTECH discovered, years ago, that humans as well, have a small crystal of magnetite between our eyes and behind the nose; larger in most men than most women. Dr Elizabeth Rauscher, an astrophysicist and nuclear scientist, has produced recent research indicating that humans may need the magnetic field of the Earth to maintain emotional balance, memory and heart rhythms as well as a sense of direction.
During the past century the geomagnetic pole has moved north at an average speed of 10 km per year. That speed has recently accelerated to 40 km per year. At this rate, in 30 years the geomagnetic pole will be in Siberia. This movement may be another indication of an upcoming pole shift.
In South Africa, Dr. Pieter Kotze, the head of the geomagnetism group at the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory in the southern Cape, says that signs a magnetic reversal is about to happen are becoming obvious in Southern Africa. The African continent seems to be coming apart at the East African Rift, from the Red Sea in the south for 4,000 miles through Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. The Earth's tectonic forces in this area are creating new plates by splitting apart old ones. The Rift Zone encompasses a dozen or so volcanoes. Geomagnetic storms in this region might have caused the crash of Air France 447 and a Yemeni Airways flight to Comoros, although flights continue over this region.
Another indication of an impending pole shift is the South Atlantic Anomaly. This is a region where the Earth's inner radiation belt comes closest to the surface. Related to the tilt and magnetic axis of Earth, the inner Van Allen belt is at its nearest over the south Atlantic ocean and farthest over the north Pacific ocean. The Van Allen radiation belt seems to be expanding as the geomagnetic field continues to weaken. At its lowest point off the coast of Brazil it is about 120 miles from the surface. This is a distance that can affect commercial air travel and definitely impact satellites. No announcement has been made that would confirm that the anomaly’s strong radiation has caused recent plane crashes. Perhaps it is difficult to determine if electrical charges in storm clouds, or the anomaly, have been responsible for those failures of flight computers, wing spoilers and other crucial systems.
Satellites affected because their orbits periodically expose them to the trapped protons of the anomaly include the Hubble Space telescope, the international Space Station and Globalstar’s satellites. Gabriel Spera, writing for the Aerospace Corporation magazine, adds the following satellites; NASA’s Terra Earth Observing System spacecraft in 1999; ROSAT, the Roentgen Satellite, an X-ray observatory; The Topex satellite; and the “Modis satellite, which was rendered inoperative in 2001 as it passed through the South Atlantic Anomaly… Examination of nearly 1300 single-event upsets from one computer on the TAOS mission shows that nearly 50 percent occurred in the South Atlantic Anomaly, whereas only 5 percent of orbital time was spent there.”
Scientists from Johns Hopkins University, Universit´a di Perugia in Perugia, Italy, the Advanced Research Institute for Science and Engineering of Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, Scobeltsin Institute of Nuclear Physics, Moscow State University, Russia among many others are studying this phenomenon. "The field has reversed many times in the past, and life didn't stop,” says one American scientist who does not believe the shift will happen in our lifetimes.
The survivalist mentality of storing food, supplies and guns to keep others or the government away does not seem likely to succeed. Historically and psychologically humans have only survived in community. Survivalism is not the philosophy of Native Americans, Mayans, medicine women or shamans have regarding Earth changes. The Laika, or shamans of the Andes, say that at this time a new kind of human will evolve on the planet. These people will have the wisdom and power to live free of fear and to reside in their Eternal nature. It will be a time when there is balance between the energies of male and female.
The views of indigenous people vary slightly on this issue, but a summary might be that the only real preparation in times of transition is improving our character, opening our hearts, and manifesting our love and connection to Nature and the Universe in a way that benefits all our relations.