Skip to main content

Natural Disaster Threat Contest Winning Submissions

Thank you to everyone who submitted a story to our Natural Disaster Threat Writing Contest. We received submissions from across the world. The CAPTRS team and our panel of judges were impressed with the creativity, research and time that went into the submissions we received. All submissions will assist us in building our CAPTRS Universe of Threats – to address our collective failure of imagination in preparing for future threats. These scenarios will be used to create varied and diverse simulation games to prepare for potential future threats.

Contest Winners were:

  • Grand Prize – Brett McKenzie (Australia)
  • Runners Up – Megha Chougule (India), Matthew Buttner (US)
  • Third Prize – Olivia Ramsay (US), Fox Meyer (New Zealand), Tim Deschênes (Canada)
  • Honorable Mentions – Jacob Ashton (UK), Melissa Bravo (US), Alex Su (Australia), Jayden Burrows (US)

We are pleased to publish our top winning submissions below.

Grand Prize Winner: Perfect Storm by Brett McKenzie

Threat Overview: The Western Hemisphere experiences an unprecedented threat—a Carrington-level solar flare. The solar flare is accompanied by another formidable phenomenon—coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Communications systems break down, as well as emergency services, aviation, maritime operations, satellites, utilities, financial systems and more. The societal impact of the Carrington-level event is profound. The aftermath of a Carrington-level event demands a comprehensive, long-term recovery strategy. Rebuilding the power grid, reviving critical infrastructure, and mitigating the risks of future solar storms would require substantial investment, collaboration, and prompt action.

Read Full Ground Truth for Perfect Storm

Read Full Perfect Storm Story

Runner-Up: Megha Chougule & Matthew Buttner


Cataclysmic Symphony by Megha Chougule

Threat Overview: An asteroid crashes into Earth causing a Tsunami and shock waves on landmass, releasing numerous particles of reactive chemicals in large amounts. There is large scale ice melt. All of this in tandem creates an environment for bacterial and fungal growth and a new strain of bacteria prospers, growing at great speed. This strain is capable of deteriorating  concreate, which causes mass chaos.

Read full ground truth for Cataclysmic Symphony

Read full story for Cataclysmic Symphony

Pineapple Express by Matthew Buttner

Threat Overview: California experiences an intense atmospheric river, a Pineapple Express, leaving behind ruins and causing massive casualties. Cascading events from floods, mudslides and extreme winds provide difficult to recover from.

Read full Ground Truth for Pineapple Express

Read full story for Pineapple Express

Third Place Award – Olivia Ramsay, Fox Meyer, Tim Deschênes


Lethal Waters by Olivia Ramsay

Threat Overview: An earthquake causes a limnic eruption in two lakes. Limnic eruptions occur as dissolved carbon dioxide erupts from deep waters causing small tsunamis and releasing a deadly gas cloud, suffocating anything in the area.

Read full Ground Truth for Lethal Waters

Read full story for Lethal Waters

Alpine Fault by Fox Meyer

Threat Overview: The Alpine Fault is the world’s longest terrestrial straight line, dominating New Zealand’s South Island. The fault produces a massive earthquake causing casualties and catastrophic cascading impacts.

Read full Ground Truth for Alpine Fault

Read full story for Alpine Fault

Western Antarctic Ice Sheet Instability by Tim Deschênes

Threat Overview: Volcanic activity beneath the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet causes a cascading marine ice sheet instability event causing the entire Western Antarctic Ice Sheet to lift off the sea floor in a very short period of time. This near instantaneous release of pressure from the bedrock of the Western Antarctic combined with the intense geological activity of the Western Antarctic Rift System causes the isostatic rebound to happen in days instead of years, causing sea level rise. People globally will be displaced with very little warning, resulting in mass hysteria, riots, looting, and clogged roads which will hamper the evacuation process.

Read full Ground Truth for Western Antarctic Ice Sheet Instability

Read full story for Western Antarctic Ice Sheet Instability