What Exactly is TEOTWAWKI?


(ModernSurvival.org) – The term TEOTWAWKI, or “the end of the world as we know it,” is used by preppers to describe massive, world-changing events. But what exactly is TEOTWAWKI? Has the world ever undergone such a scenario in the past? Is there reason to believe it could ever happen again in the future?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The world has experienced TEOTWAWKI events in the past, and undoubtedly will again at some point in the future.


The modern definition of TEOTWAWKI is a catastrophic event that destroys the institutions and norms of society across the globe. Economies, governments, and societies will go belly up, leaving a true “new normal” in their place. For preppers, the difference between a TEOTWAWKI event and a **** hits the fan (SHTF) scenario is that the latter is temporary. The world can recover from smaller catastrophic situations, whereas TEOTWAWKI will likely take generations of people before civilization returns to its previous state — if it ever does.

Has it Happened Before?

Yes, the world has experienced TEOTWAWKI events in the past, and will again. In fact, mass extinction events have happened a few times in Earth’s history.

The most recent mass extinction event occurred 250 million years ago and ended with over 95% of known plant and animal species being eradicated from the planet. The living conditions on the Earth changed so rapidly (generally believed to be caused by a massive asteroid impact) that life simply didn’t have enough time to adjust, leaving nothing but fossils as proof they ever existed at all.

What Could Cause TEOTWAWKI?

Obviously, if an asteroid was capable of reducing life on Earth by 95% in the past, a similar impact could do so again in the future. While this is an ever-present danger, it is not the only threat capable of ending the world as we know it. Here are a few others:

Nuclear War

Large-scale nuclear war is one threat that could easily be considered a TEOTWAWKI-level event. The devastation caused by the blasts and resulting radiation would change life on Earth forever.

Solar Superstorm

A geomagnetic disturbance caused by a massive solar superstorm could create an electromagnetic pulse, knocking power out across the globe. In a worst-case scenario, this would effectively put humanity back in the stone age.

Ice Age

The last known ice age ended roughly 15,000 years ago — which isn’t long at all when considering the history of the Earth. Should variations in the Earth’s rotation lead to another ice age, mankind could be in serious trouble.


The most famous supervolcano on Earth today is located in Yellowstone National Park. However, it isn’t the only one (though it is the largest). In fact, there are at least 20 known supervolcanoes on planet Earth.

Supervolcano eruptions explode with enough force to make a nuclear bomb look like a firecracker and release enough gas and ash into the atmosphere to cool the entire planet. Those who survive the initial event would face years under a darkened sky, cold climate, and dying plant and animal life.

These are simply a small sample of ways that TEOTWAWKI could come to pass. Regardless of how it may occur, one thing is certain, preparing to survive the end of the world as we know it is entirely different than preparing for a standard emergency. Should this ever come to pass, every survival skill a person has will truly be put to the test as the Earth descends into a living nightmare.

Should an end-of-the-world event ever occur, chances are high that it will force people to flee from their homes as chaos erupts in urban areas. To see how to get out in a hurry, check out our article on heading to the hills – fast!

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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