Back of the Envelope Calculations: Revelations, Oceans, and Blood

I was recently discussing Revelations and the Rapture with some of my friends. Apparently there’s an outfit called Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA that has assembled a group of Atheists willing to take care of pets if/when the Rapture occurs (for a nominal fee).

At first thought, the whole thing does sounds a bit contrived, but the execution is rather extensive and well thought out. The group’s website even includes a useful FAQ page that includes such Q&A’s as

  • How do you ensure that your representatives won’t be Raptured?
  • How can we trust that you’ll honor your service agreement, afterall you ARE atheists. [sic]
  • What if one of my family members is left behind? Will you still take possession of my pet?

I mean, it would be rather…unfortunate, shall we say, if 3 out of 4 family members were Raptured and the 4th one somehow didn’t make the cut. Three people would be up in Heaven, while the odd man out would be on Earth, in what are estimated to be pretty harrowing conditions.

So you might be wondering: What happens post-Rapture to all the people and stuff left on the planet? Does God just CTRL-A, CTRL-X everything left on Earth?

Well, not exactly. If you’re not familiar with the general conditions, they include asteroids hitting the Earth, the crust of the Earth breaking open, locusts and other animals scurrying about stinging people, and the oceans turning to blood. Yes, blood.

If you’re anything like me, one of the first questions you might ask is: I wonder if there’s enough Iron on Earth to turn the oceans to blood?

So let’s see. The Internets say that you need “about 200 milligrams (mg.) per pint of Blood” to make hemoglobin,” and that the oceans are about 1.3 billion km^3 in volume.

Google tells us that 1 kilometer^3 = 2.11337642 × 10^12 US pints.

That means that 200mg Iron/pint x (2.11337642 × 10^12 pints/km^3) = 4.22675284 x 10^8 kg of Iron/km^3 of blood.

For the entire oceans,
4.22675284 x 10^8 kg of Iron/km^3 of blood x 1.3 x 10^9 km^3 liquid/oceans = 5.49477869 × 10^17 kg Iron/oceans. Correcting for our Sig Figs, that’s 5.5 × 10^17 kg Iron/oceans of blood.

Wikipedia tells us that the Earth weighs about 5.9736 × 10^24 kg. Divide the weight of the Earth by the total amount of Iron we need and we get 1.1 * 10^7, so you’d need about one 10-millionth of the weight of the Earth, in Iron, to make nice Iron-red oceans.

But how much Iron is there really on Earth? Wikipedia says that the Earth is about 32% Iron, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to shift a three-hundred-thousandth of that total into the oceans.

So there you have it. All the Iron you’d need to turn the oceans to blood is available right here on this planet. If God is a conservationist, he could just reuse the Iron here instead of needing to expend extra energy making Iron out of nothing or bringing an Iron-rich asteroid to Earth and disintegrating it.

There’s another good reason to use the Iron already on Earth: By conserving mass, that should hopefully be enough to keep the Earth in a stable orbit.

And now you know!

2009-11-30 – Earth weight/Iron needed ratio is 1.1 * 10^7 (not 10^6, as I initially wrote).


One thought on “Back of the Envelope Calculations: Revelations, Oceans, and Blood

  1. Thanks for the compliment on my Eternal Earth-Bound Pets site. I’m the creator and co-owner.

    If you like what we did there you’d probably love my book The Atheist Camel Chronicles: Debate Themes and Arguments for the Non-Beliver, by Dromedary Hump. It is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on amazon.comUS, and is in the top 20 best selling atheist themed book.

    Yours in reason,
    aka Dromedary Hump

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