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> Yellowstone's Slumbering Giant


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Posted: Mar 11 2005, 07:04 AM
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Yellowstone's Slumbering Giant
By Steve Connor
Science Editor
The Independent - UK
3-9-5
QUOTE
When the supervolcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming finally awakes from its 640,000-year slumber, it will spew out enough ash and magma to change the world as we know it.

This is the prediction of scientists who have calculated that the global risk posed by a supervolcanic eruption somewhere in the world is between five and ten times greater than the probability of being struck by a giant asteroid.
 
But it is the huge lake of molten magma lying dormant under the lush landscape of Yellowstone that is causing the greatest concern to vulcanologists studying the special threat posed by supervolcanoes.
 
Earth scientists commissioned by the Geological Society of London have calculated that there may be several super-eruptions big enough to cause a global disaster every 100,000 years - whereas an asteroid larger than 1km (0.62 miles) in diameter would be expected to hit the Earth once in about 600,000 years.
 
Supervolcanoes may not look much - most do not even have the traditional cone of a Vesuvius or a Mount St Helens - but their potential for destruction is many times greater than a traditional volcanic eruption.
 
A super-eruption at Yellowstone would be far more devastating for the world than the eruptions at Tambora in 1815, Krakatoa in 1883 and Pinatubo in 1991 which all caused global climate disturbances for several years after the event. Super-eruptions are hundreds of times larger than the
 
biggest volcanic explosions of recorded history and their effects on the global climate are much more severe, said Professor Stephen Self, a vulcanologist at the Open University.
 
"An area the size of North America can be devastated and pronounced deterioration of global climate would be expected for a few years following the eruption," Professor Self explained. "They could result in the devastation of world agriculture, severe disruption of food supplies and mass starvation. These effects could be sufficiently severe to threaten the fabric of civilisation."
 
A two-part drama-documentary - Supervolcano - to be transmitted this Sunday and Monday on BBC1 spells out what could happen if the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park should erupt in the near future. The programme makers worked closely with volcano specialists, including scientists at the US Geological Survey, who are closely monitoring Yellowstone, to depict the most realistic scenario leading up to and in the immediate aftermath of a massive eruption.
 
It shows what would happen if some 2,000 million tons of sulphuric acid were ejected into the atmosphere to block out sunlight over much of the planet causing global temperatures to plummet by between 10C and 20C.
 
It also describes the chaos and panic caused by the dumping of billions of tons of volcanic ash over huge swaths of North America. Scientists calculate that it would be equivalent to covering an area the size of Britain in four metres of ash.
 
Ailsa Orr, the series producer, said the film-makers consulted the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), which handled the aftermath of the 11 September terror attack on New York and Washington, and found there was little planning for such a natural disaster.
 
"Fema had no contingency plans for a disaster on this scale. The largest disaster they ever had to deal with was 9/11 and that stretched their resources to the limit," Ms Orr said.
 
"Our scenario would affect an area 10 million times greater than 9/11 did. Fema were extremely interested in working with us to come up with a theoretical plan as to how they might deal with it. They gave us data on how many people would be affected by the eruption in the US."
 
Satellite images show that the mouth or caldera of the Yellowstone supervolcano is 85km (53 miles) long and 45km (28 miles) wide - which amounts to an area big enough to swallow Tokyo, the largest city in the world.
 
Five miles underneath the surface of Yellowstone sits the volcanic chamber itself which is estimated to hold 25,000 cubic kilometres of molten rock or magma. Seismologists and vulcanologists working for the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory routinely monitor the regular swellings and subsidences of the land as it responds to shifting underground lake of molten rock below.
 
Ms Orr said that the makers of the drama-documentary liaised closely with the scientists at the observatory as well as other specialists and consultants. "We started by examining data from the first super-eruption of Yellowstone which happened 2.1 million years ago. We also looked at the evidence of the last supervolcanic eruption on the planet which happened at Toba in Indonesia 74,000 years ago," she added.
 
Some scientists believe that the Toba eruption, which caused global climatic disturbances, may have even caused a genetic "bottleneck" in human genetic diversity following a dramatic decline in the global population. If the Yellowstone supervolcano were to erupt in a similar fashion the ash that it would spew out would cover three-quarters of North America in a layer deep enough to kill crops and other plants.
 
Few people would survive in the zone immediately around the eruption as the volcanic gases and choking sulphur dioxide would burn the lungs of anyone caught in the open air. Those sheltering in their homes would not be safe because layers of heavy volcanic ash would eventually cause their roofs to collapse.
 
The supervolcanic eruption of the Toba volcano in Sumatra ejected about 300 times more volcanic ash than the eruption of Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 - which caused a "year without a summer" in 1816 and prompted Lord Byron to write his poem "Darkness".
 
A report on supervolcanoes compiled by the Geological Society states: "It is easy to imagine that an eruption on the scale of Toba would have devastating global effects. A layer of ash estimated at 15 cm thick fell over the entire Indian subcontinent with similar amounts over much of south-east Asia. Most recently, the Toba ash has been found in the South China Sea, implying that several centimetres also covered southern China.
 
"Just one centimetre of ash is enough to devastate agricultural activity ... Many millions of lives throughout most of Asia would be threatened if Toba erupted today," it says.
 
Ms Orr said the University of Utah and the UK Met Office had helped to compile a map of the fallout that might result from the eruption of ash from the Yellowstone supervolcano.
 
"From this, we created an ash projection map which took into account wind direction and time of year of our eruption. Every time we refined our storyline we would send it back to them for approval so they were closely involved," she said.
 
But it is the emission of sulphuric acid into the atmosphere that would create the greatest long-term problems for countries further afield, as the biggest volcanic eruptions of the past 200 years have shown, warns Professor Steve Sparks of Bristol University, a consultant to the programme. "They caused major climatic anomalies in the two or three years after the eruption by creating a cloud of sulphuric acid droplets in the upper atmosphere. These droplets reflect and absorb sunlight, and absorb heat from the Earth - warming the upper atmosphere and cooling the lower atmosphere," Professor Sparks said.
 
"The global climate system is disturbed, resulting in pronounced, anomalous warming and cooling of different parts of the Earth at different times."
 
If enough sulphuric acid were released - and Yellowstone could emit 2,000 million tons - then what could take place would be the equivalent of a "nuclear winter", when the dust and debris from the fallout of a nuclear war block out sunlight for several years causing worldwide famines.
 
The Max Planck Institute in Hamburg helped the makers of Supervolcano to model the spread of sulphuric acid around the world.
 
"We're talking about catastrophic amounts of sulphuric acid circling the world within just a few weeks. It forms a veil that blocks out sunlight, causing temperatures to plummet," Ms Orr said.
 
"The Met Office models predicted a drop of about 15C across Europe and 20C in the southern hemisphere, the monsoon would stop, crops would fail and somewhere in the region of one billion people would die through climate change and starvation," she added.
 
Supervolcano depicts the Yellowstone caldera erupting over several days, progressively "unzipping" the build-up of underground pressure in a series of eruptions around the rim of the crater rather than releasing everything all at once in one giant eruption.
 
Ms Orr said: "The first thing we had to get right was to understand the dynamics of a super-volcanic eruption - how it would unfold, what it would look like. It's very difficult to know for sure because nobody has ever seen a super-eruption happen but we consulted with a lot of scientists and the consensus of opinion was that a super-eruption is not just one big massive eruption but a series of separate eruptions around the rim of the caldera.
 
"Only towards the end of the eruption process do they all converge into one. Once this scenario had been signed off by the scientists, we got a storyboard artist to visualise it so everyone was clear on what we had to create in the film."
 
Nobody knows whether a supervolcanic eruption at Yellowstone is imminent. The programme-makers say at the start of their film that they have not made fiction, and they have made a true story - it's just that it hasn't happened yet.
 
The Yellowstone supervolcano is know to have erupted three times in the past 2.1 million years at a regularity of about 600,000 years. The last one happened 640,000 years ago.
 
Yet vulcanologists such as Professor Sparks point out that this does not mean that another eruption is overdue. "It doesn't work like that. We just don't know when the next eruption will occur," he said.
 
Neither do scientists know how much warning the world will be given. "Frankly we don't really know, that's the real problem," Professor Sparks said.
 
But what we do know is that we are ill-prepared for such an event if it should take place in the near future. "You can't stop it. One could have to start to think about the strategies for dealing with consequences and to be frank, that's not been thought through at all," Professor Sparks said.
 
One thing remains certain in this uncertain world of low-risk, high-impact disasters. If the Yellowstone supervolcano should ever blow, our world will never be the same again, and might not even survive in its present form.
 
HOW THE RISKS MEASURE UP
 
According to scientists, the risk of a super-eruption somewhere in the world is five to 10 times greater than that of the world being hit by an asteroid. How does that compare with the other dangers we face daily?
 
Lightning
 
The chances of being killed by being struck by lightning is thought to be about one in 10 million. In the UK, an estimated five people, out of a population of about 50 million, are killed by lightning each year.
 
Air crash
 
The chances of being involved in an aircraft accident are about one in 11 million, while the chances of being killed in a car accident is one in 8,000.
 
Train crash
 
The risk of dying in an accident on the railway is one in 500,000.
 
Nuclear accident
 
The risk of an individual dying from radiation from a nuclear power station is one in 10 million.
 
Dangerous jobs
 
The occupational risk of being killed in deep-sea fishing is one in 750. With coal mining, it is one in 7,500. In construction, this increases to one in 10,000, and for the service industries, it is one in 150,000.
 
Playing football
 
The risk of dying while playing a game of football is one in 25,000.
 
Asteroid collision
 
Some scientists believe that an asteroid spotted in January 2004 had a one-in-four chance of hitting the planet within 36 hours. Researchers contemplated a call to President George Bush before new data finally showed there was no danger. The bookmakers William Hill, meanwhile, said the odds of the asteroid hitting Earth on March 2014 and wiping life off the planet was 909,000 to one.
 
©2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.
 
http://news.independent.co.uk 

http://rense.com/general63/yellowstonesslumbering.htm




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Apr 5 2005, 01:01 PM
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It might be worth mentioning that the Old Faithful WebCam is currently unstaffed until the 22nd. I wonder why they are not staffing it? Could it be they were evacuated?




--------------------
"The things I have seen, the many things, have long now faded far, only three come clear now back to me: a Cloud, a Tree, a Star."
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"I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen, han mathon ne chae a han noston ned 'wilith."
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Posted: May 7 2005, 10:44 PM
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Yellowstone Rated High For Eruption Threat
5-7-5
QUOTE
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - The Yellowstone caldera has been classified a high threat for volcanic eruption, according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey.
 
Yellowstone ranks 21st most dangerous of the 169 volcano centers in the United States, according to the Geological Survey's first-ever comprehensive review of the nation's volcanoes.
 
Kilauea in Hawaii received the highest overall threat score followed by Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainer in Washington, Mount Hood in Oregon and Mount Shasta in California.
 
Kilauea has been erupting since 1983. Mount St. Helens, which erupted catastrophically in 1980, began venting again in 2004.
 
Those volcanoes fall within the very high threat group, which includes 18 systems. Yellowstone is classified with 36 others as high threat.
 
Recurring earthquake swarms, swelling and falling ground, and changes in hydrothermal features are cited in the report as evidence of unrest at Yellowstone.
 
The report calls for better monitoring of the 55 volcanoes in the very high and high threat categories to track seismic activity, ground bulging, gas emissions and hydrologic changes.
 
University of Utah geology professor Robert Smith, who monitors earthquakes and volcanic activity in Yellowstone, said more real-time monitoring should be helpful.
 
"We've really been stressing over the last couple of years that the USGS should consider hazards as a very high priority in their future," he said. "We need to get the public's confidence and the perception that we're doing it right."
 
The university has joined the Geological Survey and Yellowstone National Park in creating the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, which uses ground-based instruments throughout the region and satellite data to monitor volcanic and earthquake unrest in the world's first national park.
 
The USGS report recognizes Yellowstone as an unusual hazard because of the millions of people who visit the park and walk amid features created by North America's largest volcanic system, Smith said, a status he has been advocating for years.
 
Smith does not paint the devastating picture portrayed in a recent TV docudrama but said smaller threats exist. For example, a lower-scale hydrothermal blast could scald tourists strolling along boardwalks.
 
Emissions of toxic gases from the park's geothermal features also pose a threat. Five bison dropped dead last year after inhaling poisonous gases trapped near the ground due to cold, calm weather near Norris Geyser Basin.
 
Stepped up monitoring and a new 24-hour watch office could lead to more timely warnings and help avoid human catastrophes at Yellowstone and nationally, according to the USGS.
 
Forty-five eruptions, including 15 cases of notable volcanic unrest, have been documented at 33 volcanoes in the U.S. since 1980, according to the report, released April 29.
 
-----
 
On the Net:
 
U.S. Geological Survey:
http://www.usgs.gov
 
Volcano Threat Report:
http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1164
 
Yellowstone Volcano Observatory:
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/yvo/index.html
 
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
 
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/yellowstone_volcano_threat 

http://rense.com/general65/yello.htm




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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  Posted: May 7 2005, 11:58 PM
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HI ALL
So, we could say that YELLOWSTONE is sort off
TOMBSTONE.
AAARR, So who is gonna be WYAT EARP,
*&
Trouble is, that all is known; is that it will erupt what is not known is when. The other thing is that the end results are going to be so vast that most do not comprehend just what that intails.
Education and some understanding of how they work is a good start towards staying alive.
Hoss eyeball.gif ta eyeball.gif ta eyeball.gif
EGM waving.gif waving.gif waving.gif waving.gif




--------------------
MONGERAL & WORKIN AT IT
*&*
THERE ARE FOUR KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD....

THOSE THAT LIKE YOU FOR THE RIGHT REASONS
THOSE THAT LIKE YOU FOR THE WRONG REASONS
THOSE THAT DON'T LIKE YOU FOR THE WRONG REASONS
THOSE THAT DON'T LIKE YOU FOR THE RIGHT REASONS

IT IS ONLY THE LAST GROUP YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT

So go tell me DOGS

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Posted: Mar 5 2006, 09:50 PM
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QUOTE
Yellowstone Volcano Grows as Geysers Reawaken
By Bjorn Carey
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 01 March 2006
QUOTE
Forces brewing deep beneath Yellowstone National Park could be making one of the largest volcanoes on Earth even bigger, a new study reveals.

In the past decade, part of the volcano has risen nearly five inches, most likely due to a backup of flowing molten rock miles below the planet's crust.

While the rise may not be noticeable to the casual hiker, the activity may have cracked the crust in the park's famous Norris Geyser Basin (NGB), leading to the formation of new fumaroles-holes that vent smoke and gas-and the reawakening of some of the area's geysers, including Steamboat, the largest geyser in the world.

Yellowstone last erupted about 640,000 years ago, spewing 240 cubic miles of material. Despite the newly discovered activity, researchers don't expect it to erupt any time soon. Eventually, however, it could explode again as a super-volcano that would destroy life for hundreds of miles around and coat the entire country in ash.

Up and down

Radar observations from the European Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite reveal that the jellybean-shaped Yellowstone caldera-a giant depression caused by past volcanic explosions-began to rise in 1995.

Although the caldera floor started to sink in late 1997, part of the north rim, called the north rim uplift anomaly (NUA) continued rising until 2003.

Molten rock called magma rises from the Earth's core under Sour Creek dome, a major feature in the eastern section of the caldera. When the magma reaches the mantle layer, six to 12 miles below the surface, it spreads like a pancake before branching off into several tunnels.

Magma flow is controlled by natural valves-one at Sour Creek dome that lets magma enter the system, and others that allow it to flow out. The outflow valve below the north rim uplift anomaly, however, can only pass so much magma at once.

"Magma's always coming up in Sour Creek dome and going through the system," USGS research geophysicist Charles Wicks told LiveScience. "But maybe there are pulses when more comes up. That may be what causes the surface to rise."

The research is detailed in the March 2 issue of the journal Nature.

The pulses might be more than the outflow valve can handle-like trying to squeeze all the toothpaste out of the tube at once. As the molten material pushes out on the surrounding rock, the ground around the valve expands and cracks.

This could explain why the uplift anomaly has risen and the Norris Geyser Basin has become more active, Wicks said. Another explanation is that nearby geothermic changes and seismic activity altered the shape of the valve, perhaps narrowing it. However, previous studies have indicated that no such alterations have occurred, and that changes in flow rate more likely cause these deformations.

Big changes

The five-inch increase at the uplift anomaly probably wasn't noticed by many tourists, but the changes in the Norris Geyser Basin were easily spotted by some. After a nine year period of inactivity, Steamboat Geyser erupted in May, 2000, and has erupted five times since.

Reaching more than 300 feet in the air, Steamboat produces the highest plumes of any geyser in the world.

Since 1989, Pork Chop geyser was active only as a hot spring, but in the summer of 2003 it reawakened as a geyser. Also that summer, several footpaths near the Norris Geyser Basin were closed because of near-boiling ground temperatures.

And a 250-foot line of new fumaroles, holes venting hot smoke and gases, formed near Nymph Lake to the north of the uplift anomaly.

"But when the [uplift anomaly] quit inflating in 2002 and 2003, the thermal unrest died off too," Wicks said. "So we think there's pretty good evidence for tying these events together."

Despite these changes, Wicks doesn't believe that Yellowstone is ready to erupt.

"This is probably an ongoing feature in Yellowstone. We've only been able to study it like this for 10 years, so we're still not sure what's normal and what's not," Wicks said. "But there's no evidence yet to suspect an eruption."

Also, the magma pancake serves as a thermal buffer that helps stabilize the volcanic system against potentially dangerous sudden changes in temperature.

http://www.livescience.com/forcesofnature/...tone_stirs.html




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Mar 6 2006, 01:18 AM
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If this thing lets go in one eruption then it will be an extinction event to match the end of the dinosuars.

After a few days of eruption 40% to 80% (depending on wind direction) of the US will suffer the extinction of all life.
After a week, the amount of ash in the atmosphere will trigger a nuclear winter long enough to extinguish all higher forms of life and return the planet to the days of bacteria and single cell creatures.

If the eruption takes the form of smaller pressure-relieving eruptions then the world gets another tourist attraction and some glorious sunsets.

An eruption at this caldera is thousands of years overdue. Time will tell.

I'd rather a big boom and get it over with than the slow torture of global warming.





--------------------
So many ferals - so few bullets.
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Posted: Mar 6 2006, 08:17 AM
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Uggliozzi, see my post on the giant meteor crater recently discovered in the Sahara. Something larger than the Barringer Crater object hit 100 million years ago, yet there is no mass extinction that I know of from that period. Hopefully, a Yellowstone superblow won't be as bad as predicted either. I still have things to do. LOL!


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Posted: Sep 3 2006, 09:55 PM
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QUOTE
Super Volcanoes: The Yellowstone Threat
August 29, 2006
ABC News
QUOTE
A massive magmadome rests beneath Yellowstone National Park, waiting to blow.

What could cover the globe in ash, plunge Earth into an ice age and end life as we know it?

The answer is found in what lies beneath: supervolcanoes. Supervolcanoes are very rare. There is no need to run out and buy duct tape and plastic sheeting for this one. The last known supervolcano was about 74,000 years ago. But they are real, and one potential supervolcano lies right here in the United States, in one of America's most profound areas of natural beauty.

According to scientists, North America is due for a supervolcano eruption in the Yellowstone area. They say we're already 30,000 years overdue. Its eruption would have far-reaching consequences.

Just 20 miles beneath the earth's surface lies a pressurized ocean of molten rock looking for a way out. And a massive release of that molten rock would create a supervolcano -- arguably the largest natural disaster humanity would ever face.

Unlike regular volcanoes, which are shaped like mammoth cones, supervolcanoes spring from massive canyons -- calderas -- that measure hundreds of miles across. Underneath their surface is a vast lake of lava. When the underground liquid rock -- magma -- bursts forth to the surface, a series of violent, massive explosions could occur in a wide-ranging eruption that could last several days. It would incinerate anyone within a hundred miles, and layers of ash would blanket much of the earth.

"These eruptions are so big that you couldn't really see them, because you couldn't be close enough to the volcano, watching it and survive. You could watch it from a satellite and you could see the volcano erupt and see the ash cloud begin to spread," said Michael Rampino, geologist and professor of earth sciences at New York University.

The ash cloud would become so thick it could cover the sun, causing global temperatures to plummet.

Scientists say such an event wiped out almost the world's entire population 74,000 years ago, when a supervolcano erupted in Toba, near the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Only a few thousand people survived.

Supervolcanoes are little understood by scientists. Their underground canyons of molten rock are immensely vast, making their potential starting points hard to identify. It has been only in the last decade that scientists have started uncovering these deadly hot spots around the world, but they still don't know where they all are.

So far, scientists have identified nearly 40 possible supervolcano hot spots, including one right in our own backyard, underneath Yellowstone National Park. Scientists estimate that the Yellowstone area will experience a supervolcano eruption approximately once every 600,000 years. The last one occurred more than 630,000 years ago.

So how would we know a supervolcano is coming? And is there anything people could do to stop it or limit its destruction?

"We haven't seen a supervolcanic eruption, so we're not sure about what we will see," said John Grattan, a volcanologist at the Institute of Geography Earth Sciences at the University of Wales. "But one of the things that we would expect would be increased earthquake activity, an increase in the small geyser eruptions that you get in Yellowstone."

"The bottom line is that when one of these eruptions occurs, it's going to be a global disaster," said NYU's Rampino. "The only question is when and where."

Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Science/story?i...6987&page=1




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Dec 19 2006, 06:31 AM
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Here's the latest report I have come across...

Received in email...
QUOTE
Supervolcano Yellowstone Domes Rising At 'Really Pronounced' Pace
The Billings Gazette
QUOTE
Parts of the collapsed, restless volcano in Yellowstone National Park are swelling faster than has ever been recorded.

Geologists from the University of Utah say two domes inside the Yellowstone caldera have steadily inflated at two to three times the rate as some of the most rapid movements recorded between 1923 and 1984.

"We've gone to this really pronounced, and I would say unprecedented, uplift of the caldera," said Bob Smith, a Utah geologist and one of the leading researchers into Yellowstone's busy volcanic life.

Smith presented some of the new findings Wednesday to the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Today, Smith is scheduled to present new information about the vast, fiery hot spot that has fueled Yellowstone for millions of years. One finding is that the tilting plume extends at least 390 miles below the surface.

The new research, including discussion of the origin and evolution of the Yellowstone hot spot, may help put an end to several years of debate about what kind of plume underlies the park.

Like a piece of paper moving over a candle, the Earth's crust has drifted over the hot spot for millions of years, destroying mountains and leaving a 300-mile-wide valley known as the Snake River Plain in Idaho.

The activity had a significant role in shaping landscapes in the West, from drainages and valleys to seismic drama playing out beneath the surface.

"It's had a really profound effect over a much larger area than just Yellowstone," Smith said.

Yellowstone's geology was a hot topic at the AGU meeting. More than 60 presentations touched on the park, whether it was looking at the diet of ancient wolves or activities of helium isotopes.

In recent years, much attention has been focused on so-called "huffing and puffing" of the Yellowstone caldera, the huge collapsed volcano that stretches across the park's middle.

The caldera has been rising and falling for at least 15,000 years, sometimes swinging more than 10 feet.

Portions of the caldera rose more than 3 feet between 1923 and 1984 and then dropped nearly 8 inches from 1985 to 1995. Measurements in 1995 and 1996 showed it rising again before starting to fall in 1997.

The latest upward motion has been unusual for its speed.

Using data collected on the ground and from satellites, scientists say the Mallard Lake Dome, west of Yellowstone Lake's West Thumb, has inflated by 4 centimeters a year since the middle of 2004, while the Sour Creek Dome north of Fishing Bridge has increased by about 6 centimeters a year. (One inch is 2.54 centimeters.)

Smith said the activity may be spurred by an infusion of magma from below that's heating up fluids and causing the ground to bulge.

"It's like inflating the balloon but the balloon is capped," Smith said. "Eventually that fluid's got to go somewhere."

While most of the caldera has been inflating, another nearby area has been falling.

A newly discovered bulge just outside the caldera, near Norris Geyser Basin, has fallen by about an inch since 2004.

But in the preceding six years - from 1997 to 2003 - the dome grew by about 5 inches and may have triggered some of the unusual activity at Norris, including a sudden rise in temperatures, the formation of explosive new steam vents and the reawakening of Steamboat geyser, the world's tallest.

When the dome, called the North Rim Uplift, began deflating again, temperatures at Norris dropped, Steamboat stopped erupting and the steaming vents at nearby Nymph Lake died down.

The below-ground connections between the ups and downs at Norris and domes inside the caldera are still unknown.

And what it all adds up to in the big picture is also unclear - except that Yellowstone continues to be geologically active and few things stay static for long.

In recent years, the possibility of a large volcanic eruption has been a popular media topic, but Smith said the scenario seems overhyped. A more likely possibility would be a large earthquake, he said, noting that the most powerful quake in the interior Western United States happened at Hebgen Lake on Aug. 17, 1959.

"It's a much higher risk," he said.




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Posted: Dec 19 2006, 05:08 PM
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Hi Pupp, long time no "see". Been busy with work.

I saw a special aired on the National Geographic channel that talked about the supervolcano. This volcano is similar to other vents throughout the earth and is long overdue for an eruption.

In 2003 there was a "mini-eruption" that cased some of the livestock in the nearby yellowstone area to die. I find this strange because animals usually have an instinct that can detect changes within the earth, similar to those in the tsunami in 2004. The animals knew/detected that the tsunami was coming and many escaped while the others still in captivity was trying to get out. These animals in yellowstone were found dead near what appeared to be a fisure in the spot of the supervolcano location. I am research that website I found the information on and will post.



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