WORLDBUILDING FOR WRITERS
Toba super-volcano caused genetic bottleneck
This is a WORLDBUILDING item I ran into while reading a novel (free copy) Death of a Cure by Steven H. Jackson.
This novel is fraught with expository lumps (some disguised as action).
The opening action sequence presupposes the reader is interested in the detailed mechanics of how a Marine doctor could be delivered to a submerged submarine via parachute.
The opening sequence is very like the opening of a James Bond movie, because then it breaks sharply into a mystery about the death of the Marine's brother who was a genetic researcher close to a big cure.
No sooner do you get involved in the characters and the relationship of the Marine (man) with an FBI agent (woman), than suddenly you're reading a primer on evolutionary theory.
It was in that expository lump that I found this one item of theory that I either didn't know or had forgotten totally about.
I became interested in super-volcanos through Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germain novels, one where he nearly witnesses a super-eruption.
I didn't know (or hadn't digested) the implications of this Indonesian eruption on human genetics, but apparently it's quite a bit more famous than the expository lump would indicate.
On this same website is a reference to a book by the same author I think about how during a magnetic pole reversal the Earth's magnetic field doesn't protect us from solar radiation and the result is rapid genetic mutation, ultimately indicated by the sudden rise of totally new species.
But I have yet to find anyone discussing the period during which the Earth's magnetic field goes to 0 as it reverses. ALL our electricity (regardless of energy source) depends on turning an armature in the earth's magnetic field. During 0, no electricity. How long would 0 last? I've never seen this discussed.