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Huge Eruption May Have Been Bigger (Super-Volcano)
Discovery Channel ^ | 12-21-2006 | Larry O'Hanlon

Posted on 12/23/2006 3:54:50 PM PST by blam

Eruption May Have Been Bigger

Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News

Dec. 21, 2006 — One of the largest volcanic eruptions on record just got bigger.

The Taupo Volcanic Zone of New Zealand appears to have had twin eruptions only 20 miles apart within days of each other a quarter-million years ago. Each eruption belched out more than 25 cubic miles (100 cubic kilometers) of rock and volcanic ash.

This is the first evidence of twin supervolcanic eruptions.

"It's possible one of these triggered the other," said geologist Darren Gravley of the University of Auckland, New Zealand. But exactly how the triggering might have worked is uncertain.

What is clear from the explorations of Gravley and his colleagues of the Mamaku and Ohakuri volcanic deposits is that they were created very close in time. That's surprising, since most caldera or "supervolcano" eruptions in any one region tend to be tens of thousands of years apart, or at least that's been the general idea until now.

Among the signs that the rocks from the two eruptions were piled on one another is the conspicuous lack of erosion on the first volcanic deposits — which is striking, considering the rainy climate.

Previous studies that looked only at the radioisotope dates of the volcanic rocks from the eruptions missed the timing details, Gravley said, because they have a margin of error of 10,000 years — way too low a resolution.

"You’ve got to look at the physical evidence," said Gravley. "It's really getting into the nitty-gritty. From the stratigraphy (rock layers) it’s clear two were erupting at the same time. That just blows away any (regional frequency) studies out of the water."

Gravely and his colleagues have published their double eruption discovery in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America.

The bad news is that double eruption represents a whole new way that supervolcanoes can threaten humanity.

"This is of course a major issue to consider for volcanic risk," said caldera researcher Gerardo Aguirre-Díaz of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico in Juriquilla, Mexico.

Caldera eruptions are far less frequent than other volcanoes, but when they do erupt, "the consequences for the surroundings and in general for the world would be enormous, because these explosive eruptions are many orders of magnitude bigger than a more common eruption from a volcano, such as Mount St. Helens or Vesuvius."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ash; catastrophism; eruption; godsgravesglyphs; newzealand; supervolcano; toba; wereallgonnadie
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1 posted on 12/23/2006 3:54:52 PM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

Catastrophism ping.


2 posted on 12/23/2006 3:55:32 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Speaking of volcanoes, there is a movie coming on the SciFi channel in two hours called "Magma: Volcanic Disaster." It's really, really bad but worth watching for a good laugh.
3 posted on 12/23/2006 3:58:07 PM PST by COEXERJ145 (Bush Derangement Syndrome Has Reached Pandemic Levels on Free Republic.)
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To: blam

So, where's the video?


4 posted on 12/23/2006 3:59:33 PM PST by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: SoldierDad

Karl Rove has it hidden away. If it ever got out that he was responsible....well it would be bad...very bad.


5 posted on 12/23/2006 4:03:38 PM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: blam

If memory serves Yellowstone is a supervolcano.


6 posted on 12/23/2006 4:05:35 PM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: COEXERJ145

Magma: Volcanic Disaster

7 posted on 12/23/2006 4:06:26 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

We're doomed, again...


8 posted on 12/23/2006 4:06:28 PM PST by WestVirginiaRebel (Common sense will do to liberalism what the atomic bomb did to Nagasaki-Rush Limbaugh)
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To: Valin
"If memory serves Yellowstone is a supervolcano."

Yup. Forty thousand years overdue too.

9 posted on 12/23/2006 4:07:49 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

Is this even in the same league with Yellowstone?


10 posted on 12/23/2006 4:09:59 PM PST by RightWhale (RTRA DLQS GSCW)
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To: blam
I've seen it before and the review doesn't say how bad it really is. I and some of my friends from a "24" message board who are fans of Reiko Aylesworth like to watch it and make fun of it. Only her and Xander Berkeley are good in this movie as they do well despite the crappy script.

But Yellowstone will go BOOM in the movie. It's the cause of all the disasters that is the uber-lame part.

11 posted on 12/23/2006 4:10:29 PM PST by COEXERJ145 (Bush Derangement Syndrome Has Reached Pandemic Levels on Free Republic.)
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To: blam

This could be twice as Hugh!


12 posted on 12/23/2006 4:10:52 PM PST by mikrofon (Grandma got run over by some magma...)
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To: blam
Did you see "Supervolcano" on the Discovery Channel?
13 posted on 12/23/2006 4:11:00 PM PST by COEXERJ145 (Bush Derangement Syndrome Has Reached Pandemic Levels on Free Republic.)
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To: blam

1/4 million years ago? Que sera, sera.


14 posted on 12/23/2006 4:12:32 PM PST by pankot
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To: Valin

LOL!


15 posted on 12/23/2006 4:13:51 PM PST by SoldierDad (Proud Father of a 2nd BCT 10th Mountain Soldier fighting the terrorists in Iraq)
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To: COEXERJ145
It's the cause of all the disasters that is the uber-lame part.

Underground Nuclear testing?

16 posted on 12/23/2006 4:13:52 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (We must have faith For when it is all said and done, Faith manages. And the impossible is achieved)
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To: blam
Oh, God I've been worrying about supervolcanos, meteor strikes, transfats, global warming, Britney Spears, mercury in the tuna, the heartbreak of whatever that skin disease that I can't spell is, and now it turns out instead of mere supervolcanos I should have been worrying about twin supervolcanos!!

This is so confusing, I just can't keep up.
17 posted on 12/23/2006 4:15:07 PM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: blam
The bad news is that double eruption represents a whole new way that supervolcanoes can threaten humanity.
Single barrel vesus double-barrel; I guess the difference will be in the rifling ...
18 posted on 12/23/2006 4:17:47 PM PST by _Jim (Highly recommended book on the Kennedy assassination - Posner: "Case Closed")
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To: blam
"If memory serves Yellowstone is a supervolcano."

Yup. Forty thousand years overdue too.

---
Can you be more specific about when it's going to erupt?

I want to include it in my day planner on the right day.
19 posted on 12/23/2006 4:19:07 PM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: COEXERJ145
Yes. If you're into that sort of thing, look what happened 75,000 years ago when the super-volcano Toba blew:

Late Pleostocene Human Population Bottlenecks. . . (Toba)

It's recorded in our DNA.

BTW, if Yellowstone blew, it wouldn't end the way the movie did.

20 posted on 12/23/2006 4:20:03 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Yup. Forty thousand years overdue too.

The term "overdue" is horrifically mis-used in many cases, and in any event, it's not true of Yellowstone.

From the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory website:

Is it true that the next caldera-forming eruption of Yellowstone is overdue?

No. First of all, one cannot present recurrence intervals based on only two values. It would be statistically meaningless. But for those who insist... let's do the arithmetic. The three eruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 0.64 million years ago. The two intervals are thus 0.8 and 0.66 million years, averaging to a 0.73 million-year interval. Again, the last eruption was 0.64 million years ago, implying that we are still about 90,000 years away from the time when we might consider calling Yellowstone overdue for another caldera-forming eruption. Nevertheless, we cannot discount the possibility of another such eruption occurring some time in the future, given Yellowstone's volcanic history and the continued presence of magma beneath the Yellowstone caldera.

21 posted on 12/23/2006 4:21:43 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: Cheburashka
"This is so confusing, I just can't keep up."

I can see that. You left out the 'looming' Bird Flu Pandemic.

22 posted on 12/23/2006 4:22:11 PM PST by blam
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To: Cheburashka; blam
Well, you know those New Zealanders.. They just gotta one-up everyone else.

They didn't have a mere supervolcano. They had to have a double-supervolcano! nyah!

23 posted on 12/23/2006 4:23:37 PM PST by uglybiker (A bunch of radical Unitarians left a flaming question mark on my lawn!)
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To: Cheburashka

America's Explosive Park
By Larry O'Hanlon
http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/supervolcano/under/under.html

Yellowstone National Park sits atop a subterranean chamber of molten rock and gasses so vast that the region, known for its geysers and grizzlies, is arguably one of the largest active volcanoes in the world.

Granted, it's not your typical volcano, either in scale (it's huge), appearance (it's a vast depression, not a single mountain) or frequency of eruption (at least hundreds of thousands of years apart).

But it is active, and the evidence is everywhere.

A relatively close-to-the-surface magma chamber — as close as 5 miles underground in some spots — fuels thousands of spewing geysers, hissing steam vents, gurgling mud pots and steaming hot springs that help make Yellowstone such an otherworldly and popular tourist attraction, with 3 million summer visitors.

Molten rock and gas in a chamber near the Earth's surface is similarly present below "traditional" cone-shaped active volcanoes, like Mount St. Helens in Washington state.

But there are differences. Huge differences.

The crater atop Mount St. Helens is about 2 square miles. The Yellowstone "caldera" — a depression in the Earth equivalent to a crater top — is some 1,500 square miles.

(snip)


24 posted on 12/23/2006 4:25:51 PM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: blam
I can see that. You left out the 'looming' Bird Flu Pandemic.
---
I knew I'd forgotten something. Now I have to start all my worrying all over again.
25 posted on 12/23/2006 4:26:45 PM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: blam

I know, the movie was crap. But cheesy disaster movies are great for a laugh.


26 posted on 12/23/2006 4:27:45 PM PST by COEXERJ145 (Bush Derangement Syndrome Has Reached Pandemic Levels on Free Republic.)
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To: Strategerist
BUT! If it does explode, would you recommend hiding in the closet or under the bed?
27 posted on 12/23/2006 4:28:27 PM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: Strategerist
...implying that we are still about 90,000 years away from the time when we might consider calling Yellowstone overdue for another caldera-forming eruption.

How dare you dash people's paranoia!

You're just a fun-hater.

28 posted on 12/23/2006 4:29:27 PM PST by uglybiker (A bunch of radical Unitarians left a flaming question mark on my lawn!)
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To: Valin
"BUT! If it does explode, would you recommend hiding in the closet or under the bed?"

No. Rush to an equatorial region, otherwise you'll freeze or starve to death.

29 posted on 12/23/2006 4:30:43 PM PST by blam
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To: Valin
Yeah, Yeah, trust the government to screw everything up.

"No, no! It's not a supervolcano, it's a National Park!"

Instead they should have declared it surplus equipment, sold it to the Chinese, who would transport it to China.

Then it's their problem.
30 posted on 12/23/2006 4:31:11 PM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: Valin
BUT! If it does explode, would you recommend hiding in the closet or under the bed?
The question should be more along the lines of 'the smoker or the fireplace' (both UNLIT of course) ...
31 posted on 12/23/2006 4:31:41 PM PST by _Jim (Highly recommended book on the Kennedy assassination - Posner: "Case Closed")
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To: Cheburashka
"Instead they should have declared it surplus equipment, sold it to the Chinese, who would transport it to China."

"Then it's their problem."

Nah. If it goes off in China, you're still going to die.

32 posted on 12/23/2006 4:34:06 PM PST by blam
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To: Valin
BUT! If it does explode, would you recommend hiding in the closet or under the bed?
---
I personally would recommend under the bed. You can take a nap there. It's hard to sleep standing up.
33 posted on 12/23/2006 4:34:19 PM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: RightWhale
Is this even in the same league with Yellowstone?

Yeah, but still quite a bit smaller.

The largest known explosive eruption was the La Garita Caldera in Colorado 28 million years ago - about 5,000 cubic kilometers of material.

Toba is second with 2,800 cubic km.

The largest of the Yellowstone eruptions (the one three eruptions ago, 2 million years ago) is 4th with 2,500 cu km.

The last Yellowstone eruption 640,000 years ago was about 1000 cubic km of stuff - the largest Taupo eruption was 500 cubic km.

Taupo seems to erupt a lot more often than Yellowstone though.

34 posted on 12/23/2006 4:34:47 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: blam

WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

Anyone want a beer?

:)


35 posted on 12/23/2006 4:36:06 PM PST by MikefromOhio (Go Bucks!!!!)
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To: uglybiker

Oh I just think people should be paranoid about the right things - people aren't paranoid ENOUGH, for example, about really big earthquakes in places like Utah, Nevada, etc, but they're way too paranoid about Yellowstone, and La Palma in the Canaries collapsing and causing a tsunami, etc.


36 posted on 12/23/2006 4:36:06 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: blam
Nah. If it goes off in China, you're still going to die.
---
But I'll know we outlived all those Chicoms. And we got paid for it too.
37 posted on 12/23/2006 4:36:38 PM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: Valin
BUT! If it does explode, would you recommend hiding in the closet or under the bed?

Go get a lawn chair, pop a brewski and sit out in the back yard and watch the fireworks.

38 posted on 12/23/2006 4:37:55 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (We must have faith For when it is all said and done, Faith manages. And the impossible is achieved)
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To: blam

Is the sky falling again?


39 posted on 12/23/2006 4:38:58 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Ditter
"Is the sky falling again?"

No. It already fell, we survived.

40 posted on 12/23/2006 4:41:29 PM PST by blam
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To: Ditter
Is the sky falling again?
---
The newspapers and magazines have all that white space around the advertisements to fill up

The radio stations have all that dead air where they want the hourly news reports to be.

Television and cable have invested millions of dollars in news readers and they want them to actually read something during the broadcast.

What do you think the answer is? Of course the sky is falling. Again.
41 posted on 12/23/2006 4:45:37 PM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: Valin

On the other hand, if a hugely fat woman with a bottom surface of two square feet sits on the cabin floor of a 747 the aisle is blocked, if she then is helped to her feet and made to stand on a .02 square inch, 3 inch spike high-heel shoe she'll fall about 30,000 feet right through the bottom of the plane.


42 posted on 12/23/2006 4:48:57 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: blam

Amy Jo Johnson has that Red Sonja look.


43 posted on 12/23/2006 4:52:04 PM PST by RightWhale (RTRA DLQS GSCW)
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To: Old Professer

Disturbing image alert!


44 posted on 12/23/2006 4:57:46 PM PST by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: COEXERJ145
It's the cause of all the disasters that is the uber-lame part.

Having only seen the ads, I'm guessing Global Warming (caused by American SUV drivers) is the cause ;-)

45 posted on 12/23/2006 5:05:02 PM PST by Kay Ludlow (Free market, but cautious about what I support with my dollars)
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To: COEXERJ145

Is this the movie where they outrun a pyroclastic flow (which normally move at hundreds of miles per hour)?


46 posted on 12/23/2006 5:08:10 PM PST by Miss Marple (Lord, thank you for Mozart Lover's son's safe return, and look after Jemian's son, please!)
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To: shaggy eel

You are, I believe, practically in the caldera, yes?...


47 posted on 12/23/2006 5:09:32 PM PST by null and void (Propaganda doesn't have to make sense. Hell, it often works better if it doesn't.)
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To: mikrofon
This could be twice as Hugh!

Two in a row. That is series...

48 posted on 12/23/2006 5:12:17 PM PST by null and void (Propaganda doesn't have to make sense. Hell, it often works better if it doesn't.)
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To: RightWhale
"Amy Jo Johnson has that Red Sonja look."


49 posted on 12/23/2006 5:21:27 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
One of the largest volcanic eruptions on record just got bigger.

Since 250,000 years counts as "on record", how far back for "off record"?

50 posted on 12/23/2006 5:33:47 PM PST by secretagent
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