The impressive list of applicants had all been processed. It was not the usual well-heeled society types vying for head table privileges. All were in their early 40’s, had families and were extremely healthy—physically, mentally and emotionally. They were accustomed to privilege because of their substantial fortunes and yet they nervously awaited their acceptance letter like high school seniors applying for prestigious universities.
Only fifty slots were available, yet hundreds applied. Screening was thorough, uncompromising and unlimited. And heartless. The lucky ones were not from The Hamptons or Beverly Park. They sprinkled the map, the professions and sources of wealth. Here were the demographics:
PROFESSION / FIELD NUMBER
Technologies / Silicon Valley 12
Brokers / Banks, Wall Street 8
Real Estate / Developers 7
Investors / Entrepreneurs 7
Heirs / Family Estates 4
Bio-Med / Pharmaceuticals 4
Entertainers / Hollywood 3
Professional Sports 2
Foreign Monarch 1
Retired Drug Baron (acquitted) 1
Power Ball Winner 1
When the letters arrived, they celebrated quietly so as not to attract attention or create panic. Later, when the ultra-secret alarm came, they would gather their families and slip away without notice. They would supposedly survive. The rest, well, that’s another story.
The regulars at The Board of Tradewere three rounds into happy hour, toasting one another’s jokes, good fortune, and any other excuse on this Friday night. Still grumbling over last month’s influx of Iditarod visitors, they were now reclaiming their favorite bar. But in a matter of minutes, the patrons and their blissful community of Nome, Alaska. would become the first American casualties of Onesimus, vaporized by an explosive energy six billion times more powerful than the atomic bomb of Hiroshima. They would not be warned or prepared, nor did they have any chance for escape.
On the other side of the Bering Strait, just 157 nautical miles away, Lavrentyia, Russia, population 1,459, would become a hole in the ground 7 miles deep and 90 miles wide; ground zero for the impact. Officially known as 1989DP Onesimus, the asteroid’s effect would be instant, painless, and without warning. A similar fate would be dealt to a number of small communities located in this area of the Arctic Circle.
The intense heat at impact could melt ice layers and boil much of the Arctic Ocean. The shock wave would create a tsunami more than 900 feet high would reach California and Hawaii in less than a day. The tsunami would cough up big ships and underwater submarines like wiped-out surfboards in a Banzai Pipeline. Coastlines would be consumed by the rise in ocean levels. Global earthquakes and volcanic eruptions triggered by the colossal shock waves would redefine land and ocean boundaries. California may only be identifiable by its mountain tops. The impact would generate an environmental calamity that extinguishes most life forms and would take decades if not centuries to allow any recovery.
A cloud of vaporized rock, dust, ash, and steam sulfates spread from the crater as the asteroid burrowed into the Earth in a fraction of a second. Rock and pieces of the asteroid were ejected out into space by the blast, then were heated to glowing hot fragments while re-entering the atmosphere, broiling the Earth’s surface and igniting massive wildfires. The resulting cloud of dispersed particulates covered the globe and caused temperatures to drop, conditions that would persist for years.
An impact of any sizeable magnitude, on or near the critical point of what seismologists call the “Ring of Fire,” would be cataclysmic for land masses on both the eastern and western shores of the Pacific Ocean. Like falling dominos, a chain reaction of earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions would initiate from the arctic and trigger similar eruptions along the fault lines of the Pacific basin.
The Aleutian Island chain had several dormant volcanoes that would become sympathetically active with Onesimus’ impact. Mount Spurr, Mount Redoubt and Mount Augustine would erupt along with other nearby North American and Asian volcanos. The Cascade Range would become sensitized resulting in eruptions at Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens. Working its way down the coast, seismic activity would become catastrophic if the swarms of Long Valley caldera volcanoes became active, especially the super volcano east of the Sierra Nevada Range near Mammoth Mountain.
The domino effect would include seismic activity and earthquake eruptions along prominent fault lines including San Andreas and Rose Canyon. The combination of earthquakes, volcanoes and the resultant tsunamis would result in portions of California, Oregon, and Washington disappearing into the Pacific Ocean, and perhaps the entire Central Valley becoming a vast inland sea.
Coming Soon...Chapter II