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ZetaTalk: Safety Measures
Note: written on Aug 15, 1995

The cataclysms present those who would survive with several challenges. Hailstones, firestorms with brief period of oxygen depletion, earthquakes of a magnitude mankind has never experienced, rapid mountain building, spewing volcanoes, winds of hurricane force, and tidal waves high enough to sweep over tall buildings. What to do?

Tidal Waves
As the exact position of the Earth when it stops rotation cannot be calculated, just which shore will experience the worst tidal waves cannot be predicted. This is more severe on the dark side of the Earth, as the waters are gripped by the passing comet on the side facing the Sun, and thus are not as free to flow. Practically speaking, to take no chances, one should calculate to a height of 200 feet and be at least 100 miles away from any shore.
Clearly safety involves removing oneself from active or even relatively active volcanoes. Volcanoes, new and old, will present those living nearby with sudden activity during the cataclysms, with little warning. The plates are thicker than man presumes, but the thickness become slush, semi-molten lava which is more attached to the plates than the core. For mankind, which lives atop the plates, the issue is where the breaks are. Those plates that form the continents are composed of lighter material than the plates deep under the seas. It is no coincidence that they float higher or lower. It is not the weight of water that pushes the plates under the ocean down, as they must have been down in the first place for the water to have settled there. The semi-molten lava under the plates gives way to heavy objects floating on its sea, just as objects floating on water sink more deeply than lighter objects which buoy to the surface. For man, in addition to being positioned on light plates, being in the center of large land plates is a safety factor. For man, staying away from the edges of plates where very molten lava can seep and explode, during pressure of plate movement, is a significant safety factor.
Mountain Building
Remove yourselves from areas where mountain building is likely to occur. Flat plains or plateaus are safest. In this, geological analysis of plates should be your guide. Don't be above a subducting plate, as even if you are riding on top, the ground beneath you may be heated white hot, from friction.
The earthquakes will essentially level all cities, and of course railways, landing strips, and highways and bridges will be unusable. Don't figure on any power or water systems to be functional, and the telephones will surely be permanently dead. Practically speaking, one should shield any mechanical or electrical devices one hopes to use after the cataclysms with extensive padding such as rubber mats. Wrap everything as though it were going to be dropped from a height of 500 feet. Test this, and see if your device survives. If not, then sturdier devices may be required. Independent power sources, such as windmills, need to be secured. Batteries may be handy, but won't last long and will not be replaceable. Your mechanical and electrical structures will suffer damage from violent earthquakes more than your flesh and bones. You may bruise and break, but you heal. Your electrical device will stay broken. When the earthquakes are expected, lie flat. In this way you will skid and slide a few feet. Standing, or positioned at a height, you will be dashed. And by all means, do not be under a structure that will fall upon and crush you.
Hailstone and Firestorms
Metal roofs will deflect the firestorms and hailstones also, if sufficiently thick. The thickness of a protective metal plate is not as important as simply being metal, not bursting into flame. Thin metal can bend and crumble under pressure, where thick metal might shear or snap, having less flexibility. Where the metal is deemed to be protection from falling ash and rocks from exploding volcanoes, the thicker the better. For large meteors, which are few, there is no safety measure to be taken. Trust to luck, there. If the shelter you are in is not open to the outside, temporary depletion of oxygen will not affect you.
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