First of all, sorry if my English is bad. I’m trying to figure out a post-apocalyptic story, so I came up with the so many times recurred asteroid of the size that killed the dinosaurs. Is kind of a classic now. Let me describe it for you.

So, the rock is coming, we got six months of advice (just to set a time). Astronomers of all over the world says it’s going to hit Paris (I just choose a city of Europe I like, and is far enough from my country to -maybe- let some people survive). Governments of all over the world is trying so hard to keep the supply chains as intact as possible. A difficult task. Riots emerge in every city; governments fail to keep peace and order. In the Argentina of my story corruption is common, and the president, selected scientists, high functionaries and some military forces decides to use the money of the country to save his lives and build a bunker of his own to reconquer the country after the impact. People is left on his own.

The wealthy one may have a bunker, or build one if they got the resources. The rest of the people is going to die.

The asteroid strikes. Many miles of Europe are now a crater. The rest is burned down in a fireball of vaporized rock. Sediments are ejected to the skies. An earthquake never recorded before is felt in every corner of earth. Gigantic tsunamis eradicate every coastal city. Then, the ejected soil comes down to earth. Is raining fire. The temperature of the earth reaches so many degrees that anything in the surface is burned. Forest dies. The Amazon rainforest, the lung of the world, is just fire and smoke now. The little particles that persist in the sky are dispersed by the winds, covering the entire atmosphere. The dark is here. Photosynthesis organism are now struggling to live. The climate change in a chaotical way. Where it was raining before now suffers droughts. Maybe is raining in Atacama.

For two years -maybe-, the sun is blocked by the dust. But not everything is dead. Some animals survived long ago. Scientific studies tell us that this could be the survivors:

  • Crocodilians. At least just the ones in freshwater.
  • Some birds (neornithes).
  • Maybe the 75% of mammals. Depends its size and if they are capable of hibernate underground. Maybe multiturbeculates, placental and marsupials.
  • Many insects.
  • Ferns!
  • Some seed plants, if they are lucky. Most of them are going to disappear.

Now let’s talk about the fortunate people who could get into a refuge.

You, lucky and egoist government functionary/scientist/wealthy one got some stockpiles of food. You got an underground bunker. But not everything is so easy. The food is going to run out. No, there’ no hydroponic, that need a lot of power and we don’t have it. No, you can not install a mini-nuclear generator in six months. No, you can’t stock enough fuel for two-five years of power generation. Your water-air purification is as bad as we got it right now, with the current technology.

Let’s say… six months? Six months (could be more) and you are now in a problem. You ate your last can of food. Your companion may look tasty now, but that’s not good. That’s a bad action. What now?

I think about these options:

  1. Cannibalism, as long as you can breathe and drink water in your bunker. Someone has to get out sometime and reconquer the world. Is a sacrifice.
  2. Just get out and confront the world.

Let’s think in option two, that’s the focus of this question. You are in a dark world, with dust in the sky. Few plants. Crazy climate conditions. Floods, drought, cold. Especially cold.

If you are lucky enough to reach freshwater, maybe there is some life there to hunt. Some fish in there may survived. Maybe you can eat insects, small mammals, something.

You can’t obviously harvest, there’s not enough sun. It’s going to take maybe three or more years to see the first edible crop in the world.

Scavenge? Maybe. Can something survive in such apocalypse? Dog food? Canned food? Ha, maybe not enough, even for that small percentage of survivors.

Maybe you cross paths with survivors of another lucky bunker. Let’s get evil. Why if we eat them? You don’t wanna die, they neither. Have you heard of the Andes accident in 1975? Let me make you a resume: anthrophagy.

Eventually, I guess, the sun is going to get out of that dust, and we can reconstruct society.

Here goes the question, in some kind of reality check:

Could someone survive the post impact earth if they go out of the shelter after a few months?


I don't know if I can edit my question like this, sorry if I can't. Considering the comments of @user535733 and @Alexander, and in order to get a better answer than "yes" and "no", let me rephrase the question like this:

How can the bunker survivors that left the refugee some time after the impact event (let's say months) survive in such world?

Let me add, if I can, that you are "prepared" to "reconquer" the country before entering the bunker. You might have seeds that might be harvest in the new society, some storage knowlodge of sciences and techniques, some weapons to defend yourself, some clothing. You only lack a good long lasting bunker and essential resources for you in such apocalypse.

  • $\begingroup$ The people who are coming out - are they fully equipped to recolonize the Earth, or all they have is a can opener? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jun 29, 2021 at 3:11
  • $\begingroup$ Seems like you are mostly asking about 1) Food, and 2) Competition from other humans who survived in other bunkers. Did you try the Search box at the top of the page? Lots of questions about a variety of post-apocalypse scenarios, including both food and politics/warfare. It's unclear why your bunker-dwellers waited six months to emerge -- there's no radiation or zombie-virus in your scenario. They could emerge after just a couple days, while the firestorms are still winding down, and there's still plenty of supplies and equipment to be looted from the nearby towns. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Jun 29, 2021 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ (1) A lot of text, yet nowhere does the question tell us the essentials: how large is the rock and how fast is it travelling when it hits. (2) The world is a varied place. If we are only three years from being able to grow crops in Poland, then I bet we can grow crops right now in Gambia. (3) Why wouldn't there be fresh water? The world has some very large rivers and immense aquifers. Are the survivors affected by severe amnesia and cannot remember their geography? (4) Why are the suvivors so helpless? I would think they would go into the bunker well prepared. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 30, 2021 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ Pet peeve with this kind of questions: It is not hard at all to stockpile food for 6 months, or even for 6 years. It is not expensive. It doesn't even take a lot of space. They could do it in the 19th century, for example for the Fram expedition, of which the entire idea was to let a ship be trapped in ice and drift slowly with the ice: and they survived just fine five years; we can surely do it in the 21st. Tin cans were invented at the beginning of the 19th century. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 30, 2021 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ To answer properly you need to define some parameters. Specifically how large is this meteor (its diameter). How dense (whats it made of) and its velocity relative to the Earth. This basically gives you the size of the explosion, how destructive it will be, how much dust and soot is ejected into the atmosphere, how long before the climate normalizes and other factors. Google something called the Earth Impact Effects Program. This will let you play with some of these parameters and see what effects they have. $\endgroup$
    – Mon
    Jun 30, 2021 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


The Chixlub crater impact that is believed to have killed the dinosaurs was not, by itself, an extinction event. Simulations have shown that the impact itself caused some damage, most of it over with in a few days.

What caused the staggering loss of life was where the impact happened, in a sulfur rich area that caused sulfuric dioxide to get trapped in the upper atmosphere for years, causing prolonged cold and an inability for plants to grow.

There was a similar, but much smaller natural event in the Toba super volcano eruption of 75,000 years ago.

Yes, it would be fine to go outside, but everything would be dead.


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