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Are the Yellowstone and Long Valley Calderas About to Blow?
The City Edition ^ | March 11, 2011

Posted on 03/13/2011 1:24:04 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

As good a read as it is throughout, Lawrence Joseph's book, Apocalypse 2012: An Investigation into Civilization's End devotes a spine-tingling chapter to two ticking bombs in our own backyard — Yellowstone National Park and California's Long Valley Caldera. Both locations are home to massive supervolcanoes. Geologists say these submerged magma chambers fill up over the course of several hundred thousand years, then shoot their wads skyward in climate-changing events. And both are due for their periodic eruption.

The last supervolcano to erupt on the planet was Mount Toba in Sumatra — 74,000 years ago. Incredibly, both Yellowstone and Long Valley are considered a thousand times more explosive than Toba. A major blast would produce a lava field extending at least four hundred miles to the south and east. Moreover, the accompanying ash cloud may blanket much of the world for months, if not years. That would trigger worldwide crop failures and radically alter weather patterns.

Between January 17 and February 11, 2010, Yellowstone experienced its second largest swarm of earthquakes on record. Some of the over 1,800 tremors included two measuring 3.7 and 3.8 on the Richter Scale, with a total of 14 at 3.0 or more in magnitude. (For comparison, a 5.1 earthquake accompanied the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption.)

The previous year, a similar earthquake swarm occurred at the same location. In both cases, no evacuation orders or volcano warnings were issued. The U.S. Geological Suvey insists the latest activity was concentrated along known faultlines, with no direct connection to the caldera. Regardless, scientists continue to monitor more than two dozen seismograph stations. They also routinely sample sulphur and carbon dioxide levels at geysers and other hot spots around the park. Tilt meters have been installed to measure deformity of the land as the magma chamber inches slowly toward the surface.

To put the situation in context, a typical, cone-shaped stratovolcano gets its magma from seawater melting rocks along subterrainean subduction zones (i.e. where tectonic plates collide). However, the Yellowstone and Long Valley Calderas are thought to get their magma directly from the Earth's molten mantle via a "plume". This chimney-like shaft climbs to the surface through many miles of the crust. In the 1990's, satellite imaging revealed that both supervolcanoes were packing far more firepower than previously estimated.

In Yellowstone's case, the caldera is about three times the size of Manhattan. British geologist Bill McGuire first sounded the alarm publicly in a 2005 documentary produced by the BBC in London. That's when the USGS set up its 26 seismic stations, which are monitored by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory in Utah. Even so, some experts question the equipment's ability to forecast an eruption in sufficient time to evacuate people for hundreds of miles.

In Apocalypse 2012, Joseph interviews University of Utah geologist Robert B. Smith, who has studied the Yellowstone caldera for decades. Paraphrasing the scientist, Joseph writes, "This supervolcano's topographical distortion is so pronounced that Yellowstone Lake, which sits atop the caldera, is now actually tilting because of the bulge. Water is draining out at the south end, inundating trees that just a few years earlier grew normally out of the soil along the shore".

According to the BBC documentary, a key indicator of magma pushing towards the surface would be an increase in the number and frequency of earthquakes above the chamber. Environmental activists also remain wary about continued oil drilling in areas adjacent to the park. Over 5,000 wells have been drilled to date, with another 10,000 approved during the course the Bush Administration, Joseph reports.

In California, the Long Valley Caldera was hit by a series of strong quakes in the late 1970's. "Unrest in the area persists today," the USGS explains in a fact sheet, with frequent earthquakes occurring in the 1.0 to 3.0 range. The supervolcano last blew its top 760,000 years ago, and the lava flow covered 1,500 square miles. Today you can find massive amounts of pumice and obsidian fused together in the area of the blast, along with cinder cones, craters and a resurgent dome. The caldera is located near Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake, less than 20 miles from Yosemite.

In 1980, the Mammoth Lakes ski resort area was temporarily evacuated when four strong quakes struck in a vertical series, suggesting magma might be plowing toward the surface. However, no eruption followed, leading the local chamber of commerce to file a lawsuit over the loss of tourism revenues. Although the businessmen lost in court, it remains to be seen whether USGS officials will continue to err on the side of caution if the same scenario unfolds again.

According to a fact sheet on the Long Valley Caldera, "High concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in soil gas are killing trees on the flanks of Mammoth Mountain. First noted in 1990, the areas of tree kill now total 170 acres in six general areas, including Horseshoe Lake on the south side of Mammoth Mountain. The soil gas there is composed of 20 to 90 percent CO2." As a result, overnight camping is no longer permitted.

As if two supervolcanoes weren’t enough to keep westerners on their toes, there are a few others. The 175-square-mile Valles Caldera near Santa Fe, New Mexico, had its last big bang over a million years ago, sending ash as far as Iowa. Meanwhile, Idaho is home to two calderas along the Snake River Plain, known as Island Park and La Garita.

Volcano Survival 101 While lava and mud flows (called lahars) present life-threatening risks with any volcano, less talked about are the fast-moving pyroclastic flows. These dark plumes combine hot gases and solids heated to 1,300 degrees, moving at breakneck speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour across land and water. Nothing can outrun them, so the best evasive action is to get underground. In addition, river valleys and canyons provide a natural highway for mud flows, as evidenced in the dramatic footage of the Mt. Saint Helen's blast in 1980. Climbing up in elevation is critical to surviving these flows.

To predict the volatility of a typical cone-shaped, stratovolcano, geologists keep tabs on "lava bombs" thrown out from the spout in recent weeks or months. If the hardened rock is a dark color, the threat is considered much less than if it were whitish. When the volcano is spewing lava, its viscosity (thickness) offers another tell-tale clue about the disaster that may lie ahead. Runny lava, for instance, is common to Hawaiian volcanoes and indicates that the magma below the surface has a relatively easy time rising to the surface. Conversely, when the lava is thick like peanut butter -- volcanologists call it "blocky lava" -- it suggests that the lava inside the mountaing is getting plugged up near the surface. When such intense pressure reaches critical mass, the volcano will erupt in a huge, Krakatoa-like blast, hurling ash and gases for tens of miles in every direction.

Other threats associated with volcanoes (both super and strato) include inhaling high concentrations of sulphuric acid and carbon dioxide. While the smell the sulphur is easily detectable, CO2 is an odorless gas. Less lethal but still worrisome, volcanic ash spreading across hundreds of miles can disrupt vehicle operation and cause respiratory problems. More than three or four inches of wet ash accumulation on a roof of a house or other small building may also be sufficient to cause its collapse.


TOPICS: Local News; Science; Weather; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: disaster; earthquakes; volcanoes; yellowstone
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Comments?
1 posted on 03/13/2011 1:24:11 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Always be ready to meet your Maker.


2 posted on 03/13/2011 1:34:31 AM PST by skr (May God confound the enemy)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Time to run away I say, let the Moslims and south of the border conquistas have it.

They want America so much let them deal with it.

If its going to happen there is nothing mortal man can do to stop it, best to just get away from it.


3 posted on 03/13/2011 1:37:08 AM PST by Eye of Unk ("These people are either at your neck or at your knees" A quote by Winston Churchill)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yes. They need to release some pressure there. Let the lave flow instead of explode. I have to think engineers can figure this out.


4 posted on 03/13/2011 1:37:56 AM PST by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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To: wiggen

Cue the movies with the subsurface boring machines and super nuke bombs.

You know in all honesty I actually would have to admit some group of scientists could conceivably have a device that would stop such an eruption, like a small black hole, it draws the pressure off like lancing a boil.


5 posted on 03/13/2011 1:42:18 AM PST by Eye of Unk ("These people are either at your neck or at your knees" A quote by Winston Churchill)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I do not know about Long Valley, but I DO keep a close watch for any info on Yellowstone activity.
An eruption of that caldera could pretty much end America as we know it, but Obambie is just as bad.
With the Marxist in charge, America may be gone by 2012.

My other area of interest is the New Madrid fault, as it runs through former home location (Memphis).
One thing that really troubles me is that the more recent tall buildings (1960+)are all concrete, with no structural steel.
Remember, the last big earthquake (1812) caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards.
Here is an interesting site, http://newmadridearthquake.com/
They have posted info on the Japan quake.


6 posted on 03/13/2011 1:43:22 AM PST by AlexW
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To: AlexW

Its been speculated that an increase of drilling around Arkansas has increased earthquake activity, kinda makes me wonder if Obamabie is pushing for an excessive amount of drilling there around the New Madrid Fault so as to make it happen.

I have absolutely no doubts he wants panic, ruin, desperation, hopelessness just so he can strut in and become the Messiah.


7 posted on 03/13/2011 1:47:07 AM PST by Eye of Unk ("These people are either at your neck or at your knees" A quote by Winston Churchill)
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To: Eye of Unk

why not something more akin to lancing an infection.


8 posted on 03/13/2011 1:52:11 AM PST by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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To: wiggen

Someone should write a script about this, they find that the Yellowstone Caldera will indeed erupt, much larger than on the movie 2012, scientists try boring holes and using nukes, doesn’t work, only creates a bunch of earthquakes.

They even whip out a super secret Tesla designed earthquake machine hoping to then stop the earthquakes, no dice.

And then somebody comes up with creating an artificial black hole, that draws everything including light away and off into some point in time and space. So the black hole goes off and basically takes a huge chunk of America out and we now have an inland sea, but no more treat of a Super volcano.


9 posted on 03/13/2011 1:58:41 AM PST by Eye of Unk ("These people are either at your neck or at your knees" A quote by Winston Churchill)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Environmental activists also remain wary about continued oil drilling in areas adjacent to the park... .In California, the Long Valley Caldera was hit by a series of strong quakes in the late 1970's. "Unrest in the area persists today," the USGS explains."

So much for credibility. "Unrest"? Well, there it is. That's what it's all about. The volcano god is angry. Meanwhile, scientists (environmental activists) are reading the goat entrails in an attempt to see into our future. I am reminded of a jaw-dropping interview conducted immediately after the Loma Prieta quake in 1989. An "expert" with the USGS went on national TV to proclaim that "the earth itself is violently angry with what man has done to it. It's expressing its outrage." Stranger still, nobody questioned the absurdity of that statement. It's not unrest. It's a zone of seismic and volcanic activity. Quake swarms and lava domes come and go, and have been doing so since the beginning of time. The ground shakes, and thunder clouds fill the sky. Japan gets hit with the biggest quake in over a thousand years, and we want to know why. Will the same fate befall us...have we displeased the volcano god? Bad things happen to good people, and we seek an explanation. Yellowstone and its caldera will still be here when your children's' grandchildren arrive to play atop it. The sun will rise tomorrow. Dress appropriately.
10 posted on 03/13/2011 3:06:49 AM PDT by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Life on Gods little green earth is very fragile.


11 posted on 03/13/2011 3:26:23 AM PDT by exnavy (May the Lord bless and keep our troops.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

12 posted on 03/13/2011 4:06:22 AM PDT by newzjunkey
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To: PowderMonkey
An "expert" with the USGS went on national TV to proclaim that "the earth itself is violently angry with what man has done to it. It's expressing its outrage."

Somebody -a normally intelligent and sober person- laid that line on me on Friday. I responded with a brief explanation of plate tectonics and subduction zones and closed with 'it would have happened even if Man had never existed'.

He didn't seem comfortable with that, but declined to pursue the discussion further.

13 posted on 03/13/2011 4:08:22 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: skr

I haven’t done much drinking in the past few years. Maybe its time to stock up on some booze.


14 posted on 03/13/2011 4:17:43 AM PDT by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
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To: exnavy
Life on Gods little green earth is very fragile.

Yes, it always has been fragile and always will be fragile, regardless man's arrogance.

15 posted on 03/13/2011 4:19:05 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Eye of Unk

Dude, you need to copy-write that concept. Sounds like a good movie.


16 posted on 03/13/2011 4:19:58 AM PDT by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
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To: Riley

If I’d had a moment to think about it, I would have furrowed my brow, put on my serious face, and said, “You’re right. Geo-science is all bunk. We need to throw some virgins into volcanoes to placate the Earth”.


17 posted on 03/13/2011 4:20:03 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Riley
We need to throw some virgins into volcanoes to placate the Earth

We are scrod. Virgins are scarce as hens teeth hereabouts.

18 posted on 03/13/2011 4:24:17 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK (I'm waiting for the POP!)
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To: MARTIAL MONK

Might could be we could substitute kittens or something.


19 posted on 03/13/2011 4:26:11 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK (I'm waiting for the POP!)
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To: skr
Over 5,000 wells have been drilled to date, with another 10,000 approved during the course of the Bush Administration, Joseph reports

Bush's fault.

Can't we all just get along?

20 posted on 03/13/2011 4:32:31 AM PDT by Jim Noble (I'd crawl over broken glass for her. Alea iacta est.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Man plans, even schemes, God smiles.

I was just now off on the washington times website looking at pictures of the devestation in Japan, it reminds me of photos of Hiroshima 1945.

21 posted on 03/13/2011 4:37:12 AM PDT by exnavy (May the Lord bless and keep our troops.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The earth changes. Adapt or die.


22 posted on 03/13/2011 4:41:06 AM PDT by listenhillary (Social Justice is the epitome of injustice.)
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To: MARTIAL MONK

We should start a rumor that throwing in liberals will appease the volcano deity!


23 posted on 03/13/2011 4:42:56 AM PDT by The_Sword_of_Groo (<=== Proudly resides in occupied Georgia)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Probably not till 2012.


24 posted on 03/13/2011 4:46:06 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: The_Sword_of_Groo

We’re gonna need a bigger volcano.


25 posted on 03/13/2011 4:52:10 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK (I'm waiting for the POP!)
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To: skr

“Always be ready to meet your Maker.”

Most accurate comment on this thread.


26 posted on 03/13/2011 4:57:48 AM PDT by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified Decartes))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Apocalypse Schamakalypse.....there are 2 causes...

1. the abandonment of KYOTO...

AND..

2. PALIN hate-speech.


27 posted on 03/13/2011 5:08:07 AM PDT by flat
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To: Lockbar

I would except I’m afraid the ScyFy channel will make a horrible cheesy episode about it.

But you know what? its been done, scientist have indeed created an artificial black hole, that is a fact.

Given enough money and resources I would bet that such a device could very well be such a tool to figuratively “lance the Earths boil”.

But I would think the next super major tectonic event will occur around Vancouver Island. Really nasty fault there that has been suspiciously quiet.


28 posted on 03/13/2011 5:08:21 AM PDT by Eye of Unk ("These people are either at your neck or at your knees" A quote by Winston Churchill)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; All

“Over 5,000 wells have been drilled to date, with another 10,000 approved during the course the Bush Administration, Joseph reports”.

Well, at least when it does blow, we’ll know who to blame...


29 posted on 03/13/2011 5:21:58 AM PDT by mozarky2 (Ya never stand so tall as when ya stoop to stomp a statist!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Well, Yellowstone is far less geologically active than when Colter first described it eg the geysers are fewer and smaller. When I was growing up conventional wisdom was that the next eruptions was 100,000 plus years away.

On the other hand, maybe stories like this will keep fewer out of state nuts from moving in so it might be a good thing...

30 posted on 03/13/2011 5:34:10 AM PDT by montanajoe
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To: AlexW
The New Madrid quake also continued to rumble and tumble for two years. The land to the North all the way to Michigan rose as well ~ and drained. Earlier Indiana and much of Illinois had been flooded most of the year. Jefferson was going to give the area to the Indians since it was difficult to imagine using it for anything but small plot farming and hunting.

In a worst case scenario the entire fault structure from New Orleans to Detroit could move.

31 posted on 03/13/2011 5:39:25 AM PDT by muawiyah (Make America Safe For Americans)
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To: MARTIAL MONK
Perhaps we could export a few

Purely in an effort to reduce the trade deficit, you understand...
32 posted on 03/13/2011 5:40:12 AM PDT by The_Sword_of_Groo (<=== Proudly resides in occupied Georgia)
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To: AlexW
One thing that really troubles me is that the more recent tall buildings (1960+)are all concrete, with no structural steel.

Rebar is highly structural when encapsulated in concrete.

33 posted on 03/13/2011 6:19:55 AM PDT by Thermalseeker (The theft being perpetrated by Congress and the Fed makes Bernie Maddoff look like a pickpocket.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Environmental activists also remain wary about continued oil drilling in areas adjacent to the park. Over 5,000 wells have been drilled to date...

Pressure relief valves?

34 posted on 03/13/2011 6:24:13 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Thermalseeker

along with pre-stressed and post-stressed tensioning steel in concrete beams, but hey I’m just a dumb contractor


35 posted on 03/13/2011 6:53:00 AM PDT by representativerepublic (...loose lips, sink ships)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Oh, get some popcorn and watch “2012”

I especially like the parts where the Yellowstone ash destroys Las Vegas and Chicago, and tidal wave from “the Chesapeake Bay” drops an aircraft carrier on the White House


36 posted on 03/13/2011 6:53:24 AM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Did not know of the Santa Fe NM caldera.


37 posted on 03/13/2011 7:03:28 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: representativerepublic
My specialty is electrical engineering, but over the years I've supervised construction on hundreds of caissons for tower foundations. I've seen one hell of a lot of concrete get poured and it was always over rebar or other structural steel, not to mention the 2" diameter tower bolts. Sometimes they add fiberglass, too. I'm sure you've seen all that.

I noticed about 6-7 years ago while traveling through Memphis if you look at the bridges over I-40 east of Memphis you can see cable restraints they've installed between the bridge abutments and the bridge beams. My guess is the bridges are held together mostly by gravity and the cables were installed later to prevent the bridges from shaking apart in the event of a big earthquake. Those cables are on every bridge over I-40 for about 60-70 miles east of Memphis. I've seen a few on the Arkansas side, too.

38 posted on 03/13/2011 7:20:11 AM PDT by Thermalseeker (The theft being perpetrated by Congress and the Fed makes Bernie Maddoff look like a pickpocket.)
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To: skr

Great. Just great. What am I supposed to do with these green bananas?


39 posted on 03/13/2011 7:35:42 AM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

What about the wolves??? Shouldn’t they be relocated to someplace safe like San Francisco?


40 posted on 03/13/2011 7:36:00 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: MARTIAL MONK
We are scrod. Virgins are scarce as hens teeth hereabouts.


41 posted on 03/13/2011 7:49:28 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Keep your suitcase packed always - you never know when you may be called upon to check out.


42 posted on 03/13/2011 8:22:08 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: MARTIAL MONK
"Might could be we could substitute kittens or something."

Not many things cuter than a baby Fur Seal. They get my vote.

43 posted on 03/13/2011 8:30:09 AM PDT by Godebert
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
That would trigger worldwide crop failures and radically alter weather patterns.

Fortunately the underground Presidential golf course, funded with TARP, warmed and cooled with secret nuclear reactors paid for with Defense funds trimmed from missile defense, whose groundskeepers are Mexican Hamas immigrants, will be OK.

44 posted on 03/13/2011 9:22:47 AM PDT by Dr. Sheldon Cooper (I'm not insane, my mother had me tested!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Idaho is home to two calderas along the Snake River Plain, known as Island Park and La Garita.

Aren't those just earlier events from the Yellowstone hot spot.

45 posted on 03/13/2011 10:36:14 AM PDT by Mike Darancette (The heresy of heresies was common sense - Orwell)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Yes, it always has been fragile and always will be fragile, regardless man's arrogance.

We are soft tiny bags of meat on a very hard planet.

46 posted on 03/13/2011 10:39:46 AM PDT by Mike Darancette (The heresy of heresies was common sense - Orwell)
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: Eye of Unk

Trouble is if the Yellowstone caldera goes pretty much all of the continental US, a good part of Mexico and Canada goes with it.


48 posted on 03/13/2011 10:57:35 AM PDT by jmacusa (Two wrongs don't make a right. But they can make it interesting.)
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To: SumProVita

“The longer you live, the sooner you die’’.— old Irish saying.


49 posted on 03/13/2011 11:00:31 AM PDT by jmacusa (Two wrongs don't make a right. But they can make it interesting.)
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To: guerito1

Let it pile up. Sacrifice the park if thats what it comes down to because its for certain there won’t be a park after it eventually blows.


50 posted on 03/13/2011 1:14:45 PM PDT by wiggen (The teacher card. When the racism card just won't work.)
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