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In the National Geographic article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/090403-gamma-ray-extinction_2.html it is suggested that a gamma ray burst likely caused a mass extinction in earth's history. How severe is the threat of a gamma ray burst to life on earth? It would be nice to see a chart that considers the threat within the next hundred years as follows (I have no idea what the actual numbers are, hence I am asking):

Severity - Likelihood in 100 years:

  • Global extinction - 0.0000001%
  • Major impact - 0.001%
  • Moderate impact - 0.1%
  • Minor impact (e.g. deplete ozone layer by 0.01%) - 10%
  • Observable - 100% ("minor" gamma ray bursts are frequently detected)

Follow up questions are:

Something else I found to be shocking is that the Bible appears to predict such an event. I would rate the predicted event on the major impact level. I asked about this in the Christian Stack Exchange here: http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/9324/interpretations-of-revelation-168-11/9335#9335

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For all of those question I can answer to one of them: we may have some preview a few hours before receiving the gamma ray burst in form of a high increase of neutrino detection since neutrinos are always emitted first in theses cases. –  Joan.bdm May 30 at 11:43
There's no evidence of any dangerous GRB in historic time. It can never have been described by any human account. The mere proportions of space and time explains this very obiously, for those who care to try to understand, anyway. There's no potentially dangerous GRB source in our neighborhood during the rest of human existance either. It'll take at least more than 10^7 years until the Sun has moved into a potential danger area. That's a thousand times all of historic age. –  LocalFluff May 30 at 15:45
@LocalFluff: The National Geographic article I quoted above, in the first page states: "Currently WR104, a massive star 8,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius, is in position to be a potential threat, Thomas noted." –  Jonathan May 30 at 19:51
As the question appears to be about probability, not severity, perhaps the headline and question body should be rephrased to not use 'severity' ? –  Jeremy May 30 at 20:50
you might find arxiv.org/abs/1211.3962 interesting –  samcarter Jun 30 at 17:22

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