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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Ecuadorian Volcano Eruption, 4179 Toutatis Asteroid Add to the Mayan Calendar Added to End-of-the World Fears? - International Business Times
While explanations from scientists and religious leaders have allayed apprehension of a doomsday over the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, two events that happened in the past few days may arouse again fears of an end-of-the-world scenario.
These are the eruption of the Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador and the discovery by the Chinese spacecraft Chang'e-2 that the 4179 Toutatis asteroid is a potentially hazardous asteroid because of its repeated passes by the Earth.
Groups that believe in the doomsday scenario may see in these two events portents of the doomsday predictions marked by the arrival of the next solar maximum, interaction between the Earth and the black hole or Earth's collision with a planet named Nibiru.
Latest report said that Tungurahua had a full eruption on Monday, Dec 17, at about 2 p.m., local time, which produced an ash plume 6 kilometres in altitude
Renewed eruption of the volcano started last week with plumes on Sunday rising as high as 3 miles about the 16,479-foot crater. The renewed volcanic activity prompted Ecuador's National Geophysics Institute to issue an orange alert, the second-highest warning level, for towns near the volcano.
These are the provinces near Chimborazo and Tungurahua, which means Throat of Fire in the indigenous Quechia language. The volcano's last eruption was in 2006 which killed six people from the Chimborazo village. In its 1999 eruption, 15,000 residents were evacuated and returned to their homes only after one year.
Meanwhile, Chang'e-2, which made a deep space fly-by on an asteroid 4.5 million miles away from Earth, reported on Monday that the 4179 Toutatis asteroid flew 4.3 miles from the Earth.
The asteroid is 2.7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and is believed to cause dinosaur extinction. NASA said that a massive asteroid strike on earth the size of 4179 Toutatis would wipe out anything living on Earth, but added it poses no hazard to the plant at this time.
NASA said that the asteroid could theoretically come back and destroy everything sometime after the next 400 years. The asteroid was named after a Celtic god.
To non-believers, Dec 21, 2012 will remain a normal day despite the eruption of the Ecuadorian volcano. While scholars from different disciplines are dismissing the idea of an Armageddon on Friday, Mayan scholars stressed that end-of-the-world predictions are not found in any existing classic Maya accounts.
Astronomers also thumbed down different doomsday scenarios are pseudoscience since the predictions conflict with even simple astronomical observations.