SUPERVOLCANO Though certainly not the only supervolcano on Earth, the Yellowstone Caldera is the most closely monitored by far. Our threat rating is based on seismic and volcanic alerts issued by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory on a monthly basis. We also closely monitor supervolcano news and adjust the threat level accordingly. EARTHQUAKE Our earthquake monitor is based on the number of magnitude 5.0 or greater earthquakes that have occurred on Earth in the past 7 days. According to the USGS, an average of 28 such earthquakes occur per week. We compare this figure to their listing of the last 7 days of worldwide earthquake activity to derive our threat level. NUCLEAR/TECHNOLOGICAL DISASTER Nuclear threats break down into three categories: war, terrorism and accident. The Doomsday Clock has been maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947 as a measurement of how close the world is to global disaster. Originally this represented the threat of global nuclear war but has since been amended to include climate change, genetics and nanotechnology. We base our threat level mainly on this internationally recognized standard. In the U.S., global nuclear activity is monitored by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. We closely monitor this department’s activity as well as information feeds from reputable sources such as the Nuclear Threat Initiative to assess global nuclear threats. VIRUS/DISEASE/PLAGUE The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) closely monitor emerging infectious disease and publishes a detailed annual summary of notifiable diseases. We also monitor the disease outbreak news and emergencies and disasters feeds maintained by the World Health Organization to determine our threat level. EXTRATERRESTRIAL INVASION/EXOBIOLOGICAL DISASTER The Drake Equation posits that the Universe is teeming with alien life, while the Fermi Paradox addresses the contradictory lack of supporting evidence. However, recent studies suggest there are billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, giving a big boost to the odds of life existing. World renowned scientist Stephen Hawking is one of several respected figures warning that extraterrestrial life certainly exists and could be a threat. We closely follow the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute. ASTRONOMICAL/ATMOSPHERIC DISASTER The gamut of threats from space is wide, including black holes, asteroids, supernovae, gamma ray bursts, geomagnetic reversal and vacuum metastability events, to name a few. With such a diverse and large group of threats to monitor, we track a similarly large number of information sources. Of course, a great deal of this information is sourced from data collected by NASA and then analyzed by scientists, who publish their findings at a speed much slower than real-time. TSUNAMIS/FLOODS/HURRICANES/STORMS There are a number of tsunami warning centers, chief among them is the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Our threat level is primarily based on this definitive source of tsunami monitoring data, though we do also monitor the other emerging tsunami programs covering the Indian Ocean, North Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean regions. RAPTURE/SUPERNATURAL By definition, the rapture cannot be scientifically defined, so an empirical method for monitoring the likelihood of a supernatural apocalypse can only be accomplished informally. Our base threat level is neutral, adjusted based on the international ‘buzz’ within religious circles relating to specific predictions and prophecies of spiritual armageddon. This category includes threats signified by popular 2012 Mayan end times prophecies.