There was an article released yesterday at dailygalaxy.com (hubby found it when he went to do his daily digg.com look.) about yellowstone being close to erupting.
I know there's been articles/talks/news stories for years about the possibility of an immenent erruption of Yellowstone. I just want to talk about it a little bit and toss around some ideas.
Since 2004, the supervolcano (which is what Yellowstone is) has a caldera that has risen 2.8 inches per year. So for the last 6 years it's risen more than 15 inches in height. Usually these rises in the ground happen right before an eruption, and show the most significant growth right before they blow their top.
I was around for the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helen's and heard all the stories (only partially understood, I was 9 years old after all) about the "bulge" growing. I didn't comprehend fully what this would mean to the immediate future of that mountain, but it was definitely blown home on May 18th, 1980.
"The simmering volcano has produced major eruptions—each a thousand times more powerful than Mount St. Helens's 1980 eruption—three times in the past 2.1 million years...." Because I remember the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's so vividly even after 30 years, this is a sobering statement for me. I lived in Sheridan, Oregon at the time of the eruption and we had ash EVERYWHERE. School was closed, and we couldn't drive or dust the cars because the powdery stuff would get sucked into the air system in the car and destroy the engine. My sister got her rump spanked after dad told her not to write on the car with her finger in the dust yet she still did it. To the day they sold that red truck it forever had hearts and flowers in the side of the paint where the ash had scratched the finish.... lol. Good thing it was dad's work truck.
"“There is no evidence of an imminent volcanic eruption or hydrothermal explosion. That’s the bottom line,” says seismologist Robert B. Smith, lead author of the study and professor of geophysics at the University of Utah. “A lot of calderas [giant volcanic craters] worldwide go up and down over decades without erupting.”
The journal Science however reported that the caldera floor of the massive volcano has risen 3 inches, per year, for the past three years. This is a rate of growth three times more rapid than ever observed, since records were first kept back in 1923.
“Our best evidence is that the crustal magma chamber is filling with molten rock,” Smith says. “But we have no idea how long this process goes on before there either is an eruption or the inflow of molten rock stops and the caldera deflates again,” he adds."
There is no way of knowing if the supervolcano we know as Yellowstone IS or ISN'T going to erupt tomorrow. It's waited this long to do it, which means that it could wait another 600K years to do it again. Or it could blow next week.
The question that has me a bit on the questing side is if it blows... and if it blows in a "largish" eruption... what would be the consequences?
Ash? Certainly. Where would the ash fall? To the East one would presume. Just the force of the eruption however Could still force some of that ash to fall to the west, which is of more immediate concern to me and mine since myself and most of my side of the family live in Oregon. However, I also have loved ones in Tennessee and states in the East. What will they have to face?
Lava? What is the geographic terrain around Yellowstone? And where would that terrain funnel the lava to? Will have to look at Google earth for this.
Blowout? with most volcanoes there are usually rocks and debris thrown from the initial eruption. What would this debris be? how large of chunks? Which direction would they be blown?
Social/Economic consequences? Would it cause the collapse of society as we know it? Would our economy collapse leaving all of us with absolutely no $$$ to try to rebuild? Would it devistate mankind in America and ultimately the world from a year with no summer due to ash in the air, kill crops, animals, and people?
Just some thoughts on the subject today. Anyone with any input I would love to hear from. This is one of those teotwawki situations where we may or may not be able to be prepared for it, so we should at least be aware of it.