Skip to comments.Yellowstone Earthquakes: Supervolcano Update
Posted on 01/02/2009 9:32:36 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
A Yellowstone earthquake update:
1) The rumbling continues, including 3.5, 3.0 and 3.2 quakes just today
2) Here is some more Jake Lowenstern (the Yellowstone volcano scientist) analysis (via TIME):
Jake Lowenstern, Ph.D.,YVO's chief scientist, who also is part of the USGS Volcano Hazards Team, told TIME that it doesn't appear a supervolcano event is imminent. "We don't think the amount of magma exists that would create one of these large eruptions of the past," he said. "It is still possible to have a volcanic eruption comparable to other volcanoes. But we would expect to see more and larger quakes, deformation and precursory explosions out of the lake. We don't believe that anything strange is happening right now." Last summer, YVO installed new instrumentation in boreholes 500 to 600 feet deep to better detect ground deformation. Says Lowenstern: "We have a lot more ability to look at all the data now.
3) Here is a passage on the Yellowstone supervolcano from "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. He interviews a Yellowstone geologist, Paul Doss. I don't find it reassuring:
I asked him what caused Yellowstone to blow when it did.
"Don't know. Nobody knows. Volcanoes are strange things. We really don't understand them at all. Vesuvius, in Italy, was active for three hundred years until an eruption in 1944 and then it just stopped. It's been silent ever since. Some volcanologists think that it is recharging in a big way, which is a little worrying because two million people live on or around it. But nobody knows."
"And how much warning would you get if Yellowstone was going to go?" He shrugged. "Nobody was around the last time it blew, so nobody knows what the warning signs are. Probably you would have swarms of earthquakes and some surface uplift and possibly some changes in the patterns of behavior of the geysers and steam vents, but nobody really knows."
"So it could just blow without warning?"
He nodded thoughtfully. The trouble, he explained, is that nearly all the things that would constitute warning signs already exist in some measure at Yellowstone. "Earthquakes are generally a precursor of volcanic eruptions, but the park already has lots of earthquakes-1,260 of them last year. Most of them are too small to be felt, but they are earthquakes nonetheless."
A change in the pattern of geyser eruptions might also be taken as a clue, he said, but these too vary unpredictably. Once the most famous geyser in the park was Excelsior Geyser. It used to erupt regularly and spectacularly to heights of three hundred feet, but in 1888 it just stopped. Then in 1985 it erupted again, though only to a height of eighty feet. Steamboat Geyser is the biggest geyser in the world when it blows, shooting water four hundred feet into the air, but the intervals between its eruptions have ranged from as little as four days to almost fifty years. "If it blew today and again next week, that wouldn't tell us anything at all about what it might do the following week or the week after or twenty years from now," Doss says. "The whole park is so volatile that it's essentially impossible to draw conclusions from almost anything that happens."
Evacuating Yellowstone would never be easy. The park gets some three million visitors a year, mostly in the three peak months of summer. The park's roads are comparatively few and they are kept intentionally narrow, partly to slow traffic, partly to preserve an air of picturesqueness, and partly because of topographical constraints. At the height of summer, it can easily take half a day to cross the park and hours to get anywhere within it. "Whenever people see animals, they just stop, wherever they are," Doss says. "We get bear jams. We get bison jams. We get wolf jams."
In the autumn of 2000, representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service, along with some academics, met and formed something called the Yellowstone Volcanic Observatory. Four such bodies were in existence already-in Hawaii, California, Alaska, and Washington-but oddly none in the largest volcanic zone in the world. The YVO is not actually a thing, but more an idea-an agreement to coordinate efforts at studying and analyzing the park's diverse geology. One of their first tasks, Doss told me, was to draw up an "earthquake and volcano hazards plan"-a plan of action in the event of a crisis.
"There isn't one already?" I said.
"No. Afraid not. But there will be soon."
"Isn't that just a little tardy?"
He smiled. "Well, let's just say that it's not any too soon."
What will kill us faster? A big boom or global warming? I'm going for the big boom.
The best laid plans of Meese and Men should involve moving East as I fear if Yellowstone goes so goes the Cascadia Subduction Zone and I will need a place to rest my weary bones...
Sorry, folks... the world isn’t ending today.
When the animals start leaving the park....
If jellystone splodes, it’s goin east. I’ll stay here and take pictures of the splatter.
Er, wait, am I supposed to worry? Maybe I misread the article and the urgency of your ping...
OH MY GOD, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
That may disappoint some.
BTW, that wasn’t Horace Greeley, it was John Steinbeck.
... or Duane Hoover. I forget.
“It’s a beautiful park. Easy to navigate and plenty of places to stay.”
From the article it sounds like a crowded place from when I was there in 1949 and you could camp pretty much anywhere and not a lot of people.
Sometimes patients who are notified that they have a terminal condition, who are later notified that the diagnosis was incorrect, or that the condition has reversed itself, become very belligerent and/or violent upon hearing the news. Seems they have put a series of events in effect that gives them a finality and comfort, and hate having this disrupted.
I went last year and it wasn’t too bad. Some places I saw very few people. I still recommend it.
They lived directly under Mount Vesuvius.
I'm practical if nothing else.
LOL. Me too.
Wonder if the lava flow will reach Salt Lake County.
Naw, that sucker’s headed for Milwaukee.
for when you need to get in the SUV and outrun the volcano!
I need to marry a fat chick and learn at-home liposuction?
Just so it's not the San Andreas fault
I saw that special on cable. Truly incredible.
Think I’ll stay home. All we have to worry about is hurricanes and they come with warnings.
If it does I'm not in it's path. I'll live to see another day.
I think the park will be there after DC is gone.
Tork made me post that. To any fat chicks who are being liposuctioned to power SUV’s...
As Larry the Cable Guy would say...”Lord, I apologize....”.
The thing that gets you comes without a warning.
I’m in trouble, huh?
You forgot about the Madrid (MO) Fault. They say the last one rang bells in Boston churches. And the Mississippi really did run backwards due to land lift and blockages from rockfalls, etc. Manhattan, NY is on a fault line. So I guess our best hope is faith in Jesus—to save us or take us home quickly.
People still live there so I guess it wasn't too bad.
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This can only mean one thing.
It's snowing all out tin can over ... well, it's gotta be time to go outside and look.
Most weather forecasters should take that advice.
Someone said Jesus told then to get away from the Pacific Ocean. Said if the quake don’t kill you the tsunami will...
Dude, I’ll email you a link for the K&N cold air intake. What year Silverado/Pious ??
We all get it at some point. But why are so many preoccupied with that fact. Live to the best of your ability and nature will take it's course.
Um, yah. Our 20% is about 3” deep. Gotta go sweep the dish... after I find my Cabela’s glacier tread fleece lined slippers. I think the kids left the satellite broom in the garage...
So what do you propose to do about it? The end of the world has been predicted so many times that you would think people would learn. If the damn thing blows up tommorow(my bet is it won't) you had a good life. If it doesn't blow up you wasted part of your life getting upset about it.
lava won’t be the issue, ash will be the issue for the entire SW.
Looking out the window is often better than weather forcasts. Old timers, I'm becoming one of those, See things better.
... a nice protective layer to save us from Algore’s global warming/cooling/climate change?
Have ya ever wondered why these global guys sound like Amway salescritters?
It is absolutely shocking how people never have safety plans in place for anything. Security in so many industries and places is half knock-on-wood, half “paranoid” folks who make a few things happen.
People here with children, make sure you have a fire evacuation plan in place, and plan for other common (and not-so-common) emergencies that always happen to “other people.”
Why do you worry about this? I don't.
Sheesh. I went upstairs to sweep the snow off the dish, and ended up reheating limas and ham for the girls. Well, then we had to sample the Christmas piroulines. I thought the chocolate were the best, but the french vanilla got rave reviews too.
I’ve really got to find those snow slippers and clean the satellite dish.
Lima beans are one of the nastiest foods on God's green earth.