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Say there is an Americas-like continent. (The western hemisphere (North America + South America), not the United States of America)

A tyrant civilization that pretty much conquered the continent was located at what it might be Texas latitude, then a cataclysmic event ocurred that wiped out their entire civilization. The used-to-be-oppressed, people from the lower and upper half of the continent managed to survive (south America/upper Canada), as they were far from the Cataclysmic core. Their survival remains a mystery to one another. for the conditions of the post- cataclysmic land are too unbearable. Yet they venture there because of new valuable resources that appeared and later becomes some sort of economy (the lower half attribute divine punishment to the tyrants, and the new resources that arose from their ashes (?) As divine retribution) Because this resource is so difficult to get (land conditions) and already became the focus of economy (like oil) for both halves, the fact that they only meet after centuries of development it's the cause of the conflict, so, how to justify that they only found out of each other's after, say, about 900 years?

What could be this event? How would both halves of the world be climatically impacted?

Since the new found resource grants superhealing, feel free to explore high temperatures/ radiation like things.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, L.Dutch, MichaelK, Lio Elbammalf, Mołot May 15 '17 at 12:35

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm confused by your geography. When you say "America", do you mean "the whole of the Western Hemisphere from Tierra del Fuego to Baffin Island", or what? $\endgroup$ – RonJohn May 15 '17 at 4:58
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn there are two continents. North and South America sit on separate tectonic plates. There's no such thing as "the continent America," politically or geologically. $\endgroup$ – SRM May 15 '17 at 5:54
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    $\begingroup$ I mean the America continents. In many countries (such as mine) the education system teaches that The whole western hemisphere is called America, in every Latin America country when we say America, we refer to the entire American continents, and it is always a culture clash when trying to talk this out with people from the US, please let's not make this the case, and let's talk about the topic at hand. $\endgroup$ – Sephiran Leon May 15 '17 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ "please let's not make this the case" No case, just clarification so that we can answer more cogently. (Especially since South America and Canada are really far away from each other, and the jungles of the Isthmus of Panama has always been a pretty impassable barrier between north and south.) $\endgroup$ – RonJohn May 15 '17 at 6:41
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    $\begingroup$ A potential 8th continent of New Zealand has been in the news lately. Time to update everyone's textbooks. It's not a culture clash... there's two separate tectonic plates. It's a factual question, not an opinion question. This is like debating if Pluto is a planet. $\endgroup$ – SRM May 15 '17 at 13:07
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A supervolcano with ongoing activity, including choking ash falls downwind that create a wide badlands strip, where nothing grows and all water is polluted. This fallout zone divides the continent. You could make the ash radioactive if that was not bad enough.

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  • $\begingroup$ How would this ongoing activity affect the environment of the lower and upper-half? For example, The krakatoa eruption caused a 3 year famine in some regions in Russia. $\endgroup$ – Sephiran Leon May 15 '17 at 5:12
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how to justify that they only found out of each other's after, say, about 900 years?

Building upon Wayne Watson's solution, a supervolcano not only effectively cleaved the continent in twain, but the ashes and nuclear winter triggered a collapse of worldwide civilization, with scavengers wrecking more or less everything for short-time survival.

Civilization had to grow back from whatever small enclaves survived, but this wasn't easy since they had to essentially rebuild everything. They had to first gear down to a 1800-ish stable level of technology that allowed survival and progress based on more organized scavenging, while developing communications and government without which they would only perpetuate chaos; and then slowly fight up from there.

At the same time, the eruption area is now rich in all sorts of weird minerals and heavy elements, and it saw catastrophic evolution of whatever life-forms managed to survive. Among these there is a distant relative of Penicillium notatum...

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  • $\begingroup$ Penicillium? When talking about radiation, oversized cockroaches are a must! 3-meter tall scorpions are also recommended. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak May 15 '17 at 6:56
  • $\begingroup$ Although, 10-meter penicillium trees would be pretty freaky, too... (not realistic, I know) $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak May 15 '17 at 6:57
  • $\begingroup$ So what you are saying is: Yosemite finally blows? $\endgroup$ – hehe3301 May 15 '17 at 12:01
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A plague that jumps from animals seems like it might do the trick. A virus that can be carried through all manner of animals and fauna native to the region without harm but should a human be exposed to the animals or any of their fluids in a compromising way- the human will rapidly get sick and die.

Not the most romantic or showy of cataclysms, but it does make it extremely difficult to wander very deeply into the region if you can't eat or drink anything you come across and there's nowhere to buy supplies.

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No cataclysm can prevent all contact between North and South America, because people on the coasts can build boats and sail up the coast, even when severe volcanic action severs the land passages.

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  • $\begingroup$ Easy. Acidic water will dissolve your meager wooden log before you even disappear behind the horizon. Or those cellulivore bacteria that evolved when the Amazon forest got swept into the ocean. Metallic rafts will be eaten by rust. Stone will have a hard time staying afloat, although I guess I shouldn't take it for granite... $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak May 15 '17 at 7:05
  • $\begingroup$ If the oceans are so acidic that they eat through wood, life on earth has more problems than a single volcano explosion. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn May 15 '17 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ That's true, but you said "no cataclysm", not "no volcanic eruption ... without killing everyone". Although I guess without sea life the rest of life is still screwed no matter what. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak May 15 '17 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ A volcanic eruption so severe as to make everything from Panama to Nunavut (per the question: "south America/upper Canada") is a cataclysm. Which, actually, will destroy all ocean life in the Caribbean and the corresponding sections of the Pacific...) $\endgroup$ – RonJohn May 15 '17 at 15:12

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