In the year 2078 on the 07 April the Yellowstone super volcano erupted. At Dawn it spewed 1,000 cubic kilometres of magma into the North American environment, large enough to cover much of North America in an ash blanket for years. In the first hours of the eruption approximately 70,000 people were killed, another 160,500 died from the super-heated ash cloud.
Thanks to newer warning systems many states were evacuated avoiding a tremendous loss of life that was predicted at above 9,000,000.

For several days the ash hung around in the air making it difficult to breathe. It also suffocated vast farm lands and country sides which quickly lead to a food crisis. Cattle, livestock and wild life perished in the affected parts. 

US citizens became refugees lining up at the borders of Mexico and Canada. The devastation caused an ash cloud to envelop the earth for several days and block out the sun. It changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere, and caused mild climate changes around the world for nearly 10 years.
The ash mostly affected and polluted farms in the mid-west, as well as the Mississippi River, clogging waterways and agricultural areas with toxic sludge. The worst outcome of this event was the destruction of food supplies and waterways.

 Unfortunately, the sequence of events was only just beginning. 3 days after the eruption, the second part of the disaster unfolded. Due to the volcanic and tectonic nature of the region the epicenter of the eruption created seismic waves and tremors. These spread throughout the Western half of North America. The San Andreas and Cascadia Pacific fault lines became active; the Northern Segment destroyed areas such as the San Francisco bay area up to Vancouver, and the Southern Segment destroyed many areas around Los Angeles, and the San Fernando Valley

The Earthquake lasted 24-37 seconds causing damage as far away as Nevada some 220 miles from the epicenter. It was reported as being 6.7 in magnitude. Unfortunately, 9 hours after the initial quake, a second quake or aftershock hit, this was recorded at being 9.0 in magnitude - much more destructive.

The Cascadia fault line  shifted and created a devastating tsunami that further destroyed the western states. The subduction plate caused more destruction as tsunami’s headed toward to Japan, China, North & South Korea, Vietnam, The Philippines, Indonesia and even Australia.
The Western and mid-states were left in ruin. The northern and Eastern states were covered in ash and were now coping with growing rates of refugees. Land value fell, and vast areas of farming land and country side became condemned. The sulfur in the magma and ash cloud polluted the ground, lakes and rivers.
Decades later the destruction would divide and split the great nation right down the middle. 

The ash cloud caused chaos with air travel. From the onset of the disaster all flights in the North American zone were grounded. This caused the closure of the United Nations building in New York. No world leaders risked traveling by plane as ash in the air could compromise the safety of jet engines.

The assembly hall used by the European Parliament facilitated the temporary re-location of the UN. It would be decades later before a permanent location would be built. The New York, UN building remained closed due to the chaotic and turbulent state that the US was now in. 

North American Disaster (NAD)

Illustration of damaged States

Note the destruction of the West versus the unaffected Eastern States.

The purple States saw the worst damage to their infrastructure, farmland, livestock and areas of population. The red States suffered immediate progressive collapse of law and order. Orange states would have to cope with the immediate fallout.

Within the first week it was estimated that over 250,000 people had been killed by the eruption and earthquakes that followed. More fatalities would follow from the injured - nearly 6 million.

Immediate affects in the purple US States:

  • Water and food supplies destroyed
  • Water used for oil drilling escaped and poisoned the land
  • Power plants destroyed or crippled
  • All aircraft grounded
  • Security and military affected
  • Hospitals at capacity and either destroyed or affected
  • Universities, colleges, schools destroyed or affected
  • Radio and television affected
  • Entertainment, Movie and sports industries affected
  • 6.3 million Became homeless
  • Damage put the initial cost upward of $3 Trillion
  • The US economy suffered catastrophic losses
  • World markets crashed
  • Sun was blocked for several days
  • Atmosphere altered for a decade
  • Worldwide state of emergency called by the UN
  • US interests and developments ceased or cancelled
  • Space programme affected (NASA lost its budget)

The Unification Project

In 2080 the US Congress gave Powers to the Governors of California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Montana to form the Western Government Affairs Commission (WGAC). They were given direct powers and attorney to help with the devastated states and were given emergency funding to rebuild.
The US had a humanitarian crisis on a scale never before witnessed in living memory. Congress was forced to dissolve the presidency for 1 year as the US was divided up into 8 occupation zones - each zone governed by the Emergency Marshall Plan (EMP). Within the year political decisions were being turned over to congress as recovery began to take effect. Eastern zones performed much better, they were self-sufficient and to a detailed account of the industrial plan, goods and rebuilt infrastructure made the East a successful platform on which to inaugurate the Presidency.

Over the next 7 years the US Government invested in the Eastern states which spurred on global investment. However, the Western states lagged way behind compared to their Eastern counterparts.
In 2088, following disagreements regarding reconstruction and a new budget, WGAC instituted the Colorado Blockade, preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in the East. Congress replied with a mounted public relations campaign against the western policy change.

Millions in the West joined in protest against the US Government, millions of citizens took to the streets and rioted. Military and policing countermeasures were harsh and provoked a social rift.
The accidental attack on a college that killed 47 students in Utah prompted the people of the Western states to stand in defiance against Congress. 

They wanted to split away from the dishonest and corrupt US Government. New leadership was sought to lead and rebuild the West. Years after the disaster, the people of the Western States had voted and a new era for the country began. The existing president agreed a treaty that effectively gave WGAC total control of the western states for limited time.

The candidacy at the time saw the Californian candidate Henry Boal (Republican) and the existing president Donald Bentley (Democrat) competing for the presidency. The president did not want the western man to take up command of the US. The thinking was that if Boal got in, he would re-shape the country and give the West more funding and powers which would put off and hinder global investment. So in a meeting held by both men in the Oval Office on September 23 2091 - an agreement was signed that would allow Boal to govern all the western territories. Boal effectively became the care-taker of the West, and this would allow Bentley his re-election victory.
The initial treaty allowed the new formation of the Western Territories of the US, a 20 year deal known as the Unification Project. The thinking was that in this 20 year period the whole country should have been rebuilt and able to function as a whole again. However, as events unfolded the split in-turn did hinder global investment. Factors around the world once again halted the global recovery - the stock market crash of 2105 saw a world recession. 

The East now experienced its worst years with a struggling economy, lack of tourism, growing debt and high unemployment meant it could not afford to meet the 2111 Unification Project date. The West, however, was performing much better. Because of its effective freedom from Congress it was able to start recovery from a different angle. Instead of looking at the immediate problems like reconstruction, it instead looked at how it could prosper from long term initiatives. After re-housing it began more demolition to the devastated cities and highways. A new strategy was agreed upon: Don’t just re-build, re-start! And so, a brand new infrastructure, education and healthcare system was built. Manufacturing and agriculture saw a demand in jobs that almost crushed unemployment.

Migration from the East saw an increase in a skilled workforce. New cities began to rise from the old and investment now came to them. After the initial construction of these primal civilisation needs, advancements in other areas took off such as high tech and science industries, research centres popped up everywhere. The abolished tuition fees meant that there was a well- educated workforce. 
Tourism had stabilized and big cities like Los Angeles, and San Francisco became tourist destinations once again. The Western Territory economy was doing very well. Many states such as Wyoming and
Colorado were still left abandoned, but these in turn had started to become populated by Native Indians, and a pact was made with the Western government and the US Indian Council to set aside parts of these states for them.

Images by Stephen Minorczyk

An event that was only synonymous with the extinction that had wiped out the dinosaurs

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