Answers to all these questions are centered on the calendar of the Central America’s ancient Maya civilization. This calendar does not go beyond December 21, 2012. The Mayas had devised about 20 different types of calendars to cover the periods of different lengths. Out of these, the calendar covering the maximum span of time, the one that is known as the Long Count and covers the longest span, viz. 5,125.36 years, is going to come to an end on December 21, 2012. Expert ancient Maya astronomers have not kept any provision for measuring the time after the end of Long Count because (according to some present day experts) a major cataclysm devastates the Earth after every 5,125.36 years. Most of the living beings get wiped out in the catalyzing and a new cycle of evolution starts with whichever animates that have managed to survive. The measurement of time according to the Maya Long Count starts from zero all over again. The dawn of such a new Long Count era is not far but before the commencement of new Long Count era devastating cataclysm is going to wipe out most of the life on the Earth.
Maya civilization of the Central America was one of the well developed ancient civilizations. It was spread in Yucatan peninsula of the present day Mexico as well as in the parts of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and EI Salvador. Although Mayas settled down in this region and became cultivators around 1500 B.C., their golden age started around 250 B.C. Mayas acquired considerable expertise in astronomy, pictographic script, architecture, calendar making etc. They built cities and stepped pyramids for religious rites. Chichen-ltza was their largest city. Other cities included Palenque, Bonampak, Uxmal, Uaxactun, Tikal etc. Maya civilization thrived up to 800 AD after which the decline began. It is believed that rivalry among the rulers of various Maya cities to construct mega structures like pyramids led to tussle amongst them for skilled workers and laborers that culminated in warfare and decimation of the populace. Ultimately the Spanish conquistadors defeated the Mayas in the early 16″‘century. Their civilization except hieroglyphic carvings on the monuments and only four manuscripts was destroyed. Much later the archeologists learned that ancient Maya scholars had devised 20 types of circular calendars to represent different cycles of Nature. Long Count was the only calendar that was not depicted in circular shape but in the linear shape—as if the era denoted by it started from one point and terminated at the other end unlike other calendars which represented various continuous cycles. Long Count Calendar comes to an end after each period of 5,125.36 years. Current Long Count that started in 3114 BC must come to an end in 2012.
There were three main calendars of Maya civilization. These calendars were used for measuring short, medium and long periods of time. The study of remains of Maya monuments reveals that Maya were obsessed by time, dates, periods of days, and their astrological and magical influence. The calendar meant for measuring short span of time was known as ‘Tzolkin’ whereas the calendar meant for measuring medium span of time was known as ‘Haab’.
According to Long Count dates up to 126.96.36.199.0. only can be recorded. This period of 13 baktun is equal to 18,72,000 days. Dividing this number by 365.2420 days of the solar year, one gets 5,125.36 years. Hence, the period of 5,125.36 years that started in the year 3114 BC must come to an end in the year 2012. December 21, 2012 is the exact date calculated by the scholars. Maya calendar does not provide for any time after this date. According to the ancient Maya civilization a terrible cataclysm takes place after every 18,72,000 days and wipes out most of the living beings on the Earth. Thereafter, gradually, living beings start thriving again. The prevalent belief firmly attributes that ancient Maya scholars had purposefully stopped the calendar at 18,72,000 days because the cataclysm unfailingly devastates the Earth at the end of this period. Many people are convinced that the cataclysm will take place on December 21, 2012 and some best-selling books are strengthening their belief.
It will not be proper to end the discussion abruptly after meticulously describing the sinister forecast up to the expected date of its occurrence. The question crying for an answer is:
Which kind of event or happening will cause devastating cataclysm?
The ancient Maya scholars did not elaborate the event or events that will cause unparalleled damage. They simply stopped mapping the time after Long Count. This ultimately made many people believe that end of Long Count tantamount to cataclysm. They associated some catastrophic events threatening the existence of the living beings with the ancient Maya calendar. Each of these threats has always been likely—and very much so today. Here are some examples.
» The solar system is situated near the edge of one of the spiral arms of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. Like other spiral galaxies, Milky Way is flattened and disc-shaped with a bulge in the center where the maximum number of stars is concentrated. Solar system is orbiting the center or the nucleus of 1,00,000 light years expanse of the Milky Way at a distance of about 30,000 light years from the nucleus but its orbital course is not on a plane level. It is an undulating course like a roller-coaster. The present stage of solar system’s course is a descending one. Here, the space is filled with hydrogen gas clouds and dust. This is potentially dangerous situation.
If huge clouds of gas and dust invade the Earth’s atmosphere as it hurtles through the space at the velocity of hundreds of kilometers per second, resultant obstruction to the sunrays will go on increasing and decreasing temperature can cause ice age on the Earth. Major ice ages come once in every 25,625 years, this period is equal to five long counts (5,125 X 5). Incidentally, according to ancient Maya scholars, four cycles of Long Count are over and the fifth cycle is nearing its end on December 21, 2012 which is also the portentous 25,625th year.
» Here is another ominous prophecy for the believers of apocalypse. Eruption of the word’s most potent volcano is long overdue. It can take place any time. This volcano situated in the USA’s Yellowstone National Park is not a mountain like other volcanoes because its gargantuan magma chamber or the lava reservoir is trapped in a geological fault 30 kilometers beneath the surface. Underground water above the magma chamber is transforming into steam and then condensing into water it is spewed as 55 meters high geyser at hourly intervals. This geyser scrupulously maintains its hourly timetable and therefore, the Americans have named it ‘0ld faithful’.
As far as the probability of cataclysm is concerned, geyser is not important but the huge lava reservoir beneath it. No other volcano on the Earth has such as a vast reservoir of lava. Geological studies have confirmed that this volcano at Yellowstone has been erupting every 6,50,000 years and wrecking havoc on the living creatures by throwing giant clouds of millions of tons of dust and ash in the sky. Eventually blocking the sunrays for months together. More than 6,50,000 years have elapsed since its last eruption. The believers of cataclysm are treating the year 2012 as yet another year of Yellowstone’s deadly eruption.
» The time is also ripe for the reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles. Studies of magnetic specs embedded in subterranean rocks have revealed that magnetic North and South Poles have interchanged their position about 400 times in the past 170 million years. Each time the Earth’s magnetic field had nearly vanished for about 100 years before becoming normal again. During the period of absence of the magnetic field the Earth received tremendous amounts of radiation from the outer space. Deprived of the magnetic shield the living creatures fell prey to the effects of radiation. Hundreds of thousand years have passed since the last reversal of magnetic poles and this event with its calamitous effects is also due any time. End of the world lobby has not failed to connect this phenomenon with 2012.
» Astronomers have forecast 2012 as the year of the most intense solar activity. Huge solar flares and ejection of vast quantities of charged particles of energy (protons and electrons) known as solar wind is expected in this year. It was estimated that the number of sunspots might exceed 140 by the August of this year and might reach 155 by the year end in December. Solar flares known as coronal mass ejections/CME may nearly burn the living creatures on the Earth. Average solar flare has temperature of 1,00,000⁰ Celsius and mass of one billion tons. A large number of people believe that Sun’s wrath will be unbearable this year.
Besides perils discussed above, apprehensions are expressed about the possibility of a number of other destructive natural forces. Among them are explosion of supernova in the outer space near the solar system and cascades of deadly gamma rays emanating from the collision between two black holes or neutron stars engulfing the Earth. Collision of a large meteoroid or comet on the Earth is also possible.
However, the question is: Do any of these phenomena have even the remotest connection with the calendar of Maya civilization? We don’t know! Wait till December 12, 2012 for the answer!