A Wonky Post-Apocalyptic World
All in all, we might find our planet going through an inexorable, unstoppable global warming cycle. If it warms to the point wherein plants and trees die off, then a huge sink for any carbon dioxide would die off with them. If the warming reached a point wherein all the water on Earth boiled away, then there would also be no oceanic sink for the atmospheric blanket of carbon dioxide.
In the end, we may come to look like Venus, whose atmosphere is suffocatingly rich in carbon dioxide, and whose surface is absent of any liquid water. That, as you can imagine, would not be ideal – but the doom and gloom might not even end there.
About 3.5 billion years ago, Mars experienced such a prolonged volcanic eruption that it gouged out its own mantle, the partly-molten layer beneath the crust, and plonked it on the surface. This major mass imbalance caused the entire Red Planet to tip over by 20°, irrevocably changing its orbital parameters. This would be like Paris suddenly moving to the North Pole.
In this scenario, Earth may become Venus. Ksanawo/Shutterstock
If every single volcano on Earth erupted, but most of the magma erupted out onto the surface at, say, the locations of the hotspot volcanoes, including at Hawaii and Yellowstone, then the Earth may also tip over to some extent.
At the conclusion of this dark and destructive tale of paroxysmal fire, we’d be left with a suffocating, lifeless, scorched, desolate, wonky planet. It won’t happen – don’t start planning to move planets – but it’s almost certain that someday it will form the basis of a plot for a really, really bad film.