So I'm writing a post apocalyptic story. Basically, a war happens and after a solar storm there's very few human survivors on Earth. This world has "magic" crystals, rocks that emanate energy. The majority of the world population would sadly die. But even if the war was affecting the whole world, it would be impossible for that to happen. I'm thinking about a lot less than a billion humans surviving, about a million, but I don't know if that would be enough for the scattered human survivors to restart humanity. What things would need to happen? I'm thinking a few big nuclear bombs that were launched in the war, and a solar storm that would "turn on" the magic crystals, making them release a lot of energy that can do a lot of damage and mutate DNA, but the mutations are more positive than the ones that radiation does.

My question is: what else would need to happen for the human population to shrink that much? And would about a million humans be able to remake humanity in about ten thousand years?

I'm sorry if my English is bad, I'm not a native English speaker. And if my question is too broad please tell me in the comments.


closed as unclear what you're asking by user535733, Cyn, Dewi Morgan, Starfish Prime, 011358 smell Jun 1 at 11:12

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm editing the tags to your question on the basis that death is implied by both the weapon-mass-destruction tag and the post-apocalypse tag and adding the magic tag, I think this will help. If this conflicts with your intention, you can roll back the edit. $\endgroup$ – 011358 smell May 31 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Onix, your story sounds interesting but your question here is very broad. I see two questions here (shrinking the population and remaking humanity). Please only ask one at a time. Even so, each of these is very broad. I don't see the crystals being relevant to the first question, just the second, so you can leave them out if you choose the first question (I recommend the first one because the second one is a "yes" as 10,000 years ago we had only 5 million people and very low tech). So asking about how to kill off all but about a million humans is probably your best bet. $\endgroup$ – Cyn Jun 1 at 3:19
  • $\begingroup$ The human population 10,000 years ago would be of order 5 million according to this article (see the pdf it links to in the body of the article). $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jun 1 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ From what we know about the prospect of all-out nuclear war, a million survivors would be a very optimistic outcome... $\endgroup$ – Tom O'Daighre Jun 1 at 23:00

Nuclear Winter would probably the biggest factor upon drastically decreasing the population of Earth. It's already been simulated that about 100 nuclear bombs, similar to the ones dropped in Hiroshima, can cause multiple firestorms that is capable of sending enough material in the air to block the sun, hence Nuclear Winter.

This will cause the global temperature to drop a few degrees that will last for decades. This makes it really hard for crops to grow. Not only that, the resulting materials from the burning cities causes degradation of Ozone, which means more UV rays hitting the land, further damaging crops.

Worst case scenario, famine will kill billions of people due to the lack of food being grown.

  • $\begingroup$ Would the heat of the energy released make bugs like cockroaches from the sewers go to the cities? $\endgroup$ – Onix May 31 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Onix they already do this. Cockroaches can actually swim up a sewer pipe into a house. $\endgroup$ – John Jun 1 at 4:20

A total war between the United States and Russia will do more than enough damage even if no other nuclear-armed states participated. The national archives now features a declassified list of America's 1,100 intended nuclear targets during the Cold War. This page details the immediate damage of the nuclear exchange and the resulting radioactive fallout. The summary is that a total war using modern powerful weapons would produce enough fallout to put the Earth into a mini-ice age.

The economic / social consequences will be just as bad - any surviving countries are going to have to adjust to a new geopolitical reality where the old military powers are gone or severely weakened, markets are completely disrupted, global communications and probably satellites are gone, currencies are worthless, hospitals are overrun, and beset by shortages of medicine.. basically almost every resource is going to become very scarce. It would be incredibly difficult to maintain order.


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