Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Science and Technology » Volcanic Destruction Of United States Is 40,000 Years Overdue!

Volcanic Destruction Of United States Is 40,000 Years Overdue!

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

… and God shall rain down destruction fire and brimstone upon the land and all that which remains will be blanketed in a smoldering silencing ash, hushing the wails of sorrow. While this all sounds very biblical and even whimsical, the scientific fact is that the western mountain and central sections of The United States face such a fate, but not at the hands of a deity or an antichrist.

The only question is “when?” not “if?”

A caldera is formed when a volcano suffers so massive an explosion and ejects so much magma, ash, and gas under pressure that it collapses of its own weight into the emptied subterranean chambers that fed it. The result is a huge pit as big as 50 miles in diameter and hundreds of feet deep in place of the usual majestic snow-covered mountain peak.

Such an event has happened in North America not once, but three times in a place you normally wouldn’t think of as a hotbed of volcanic activity. This particular renowned and famous tourist destination has a little-known periodic feature that is more deadly than Old Faithful and is ominously about 40,000 years behind schedule.

Of the three most massive volcanic eruptions in our continent’s geological history, Yellowstone National Park holds the first and second place records. The Long Valley California caldera comes in at number three. Yellowstone so far has had two mega-destructive events — 2 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and a smaller one (for the sake of comparison, not severity) 600,000 years ago.


The area around, beneath and within our nation’s first national park is known in scientific circles as a “Super Volcano” and there’s a good reason for all that magnificent mountain scenery. Approximately two million years ago the first Yellowstone blast left a crater that has been estimated at 49.8 miles long by 40.5 miles wide. Geological records reveal a ballpark figure of the output of that eruption at 585 cubic miles of molten magma.

According to geologists, our pleasant little nature and wildlife preserve has an average cycle of caldera-building eruptions of about every 600,000 years — and the last one was 640,000 years ago. That one produced a crater measuring 53 miles long by 28 miles wide. The resulting pyroclastic flow deposited enough material to cover 3000 square miles, settling into a rock layer known as the Lava Creek Tuff, a volume, if rolled out evenly, that would equal covering the entire continental United States with five inches of asphalt. In addition, the eruption blasted 625 cubic miles of vaporized rock into the air, the majority of which settled as smothering ash across much of what is now the United States. The rest formed a cloud that encircled the globe, cooling it by several degrees over a period of years before it finally dissipated.

Volcanologists from the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey have predicted that the next major Yellowstone eruption would make Mt. St. Helens look like a mere geologic hiccup. The 1980 St. Helen’s eruption sent 1.25 cubic miles of ash into the air; in comparison the next Yellowstone “event” could potentially produce approximately 500 times that output volume (or 625 cubic miles). Crop failures resulting from the cataclysmic event could last for years as a consequence of that much particulate and sulfur dioxide content in the air.

The immense North American plate’s friction moving beneath the Earth’s crust under Yellowstone is currently heating the magma, gas, and ground water. In other words it’s slowly boiling the park, like the bubbling top crust of mom’s apple pie in the oven. The “filling” is molten magma, which is feeding and expanding chambers under the park and building up pressure.

When (not if) that Yellowstone bubble bursts it will cost millions of lives, devastation of hundreds of species of animals and plants, and drastically alter our global atmosphere. The result will be widespread destruction of crops and the cause of millions more people to die of starvation. After the first good rainstorms, the nation’s farm belt will be buried under a hardened layer of ash the consistency of dried concrete. Vehicles will be trapped in it and house roofs will collapse beneath it.

Geologists seem to be divided as to the likelihood of a “super” eruption happening any time soon because the cycle seems to be slowing down. The last small but “significant” non-caldera eruption was about 70,000 years ago. However reports from the National Park Service using sophisicated satellite readings show that the ground in the region within Yellowstone has been rising and falling in super slow motion. Over the last century several places within the park have shifted as much as several inches.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, for the month of July 2006 alone there were 110 earthquakes in and around Yellowstone National Park. Most were relatively small with the largest being 2.9 in magnitude, which was one of 34 to have occurred on  a single day last month (July 10) within a few miles of the Lower Geyser Basin.

The White Lake GPS stations have also reported a consistent uplift over the last 23 months.

This activity has motivated the USGS to create a nationwide system of alert levels to identify volcanic movement. It is expected to be adopted by the fall of this year at The Cascades Volcano Observatory in the northwest, the Alaska Volcano Observatory, the Long Valley California Observatory and of course the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

The rankings are:

  • Normal -Typical volcanic activity in a non-eruptive phase;
  • Advisory – For elevated unrest;
  • Watch - For escalating unrest or a minor eruption causing limited hazards;
  • Warning – If a highly hazardous eruption is underway or imminent.

Should this event actually come to pass, global warming would no longer be a problem, as enough sunlight would be reflected away by the ash and dust to cool the atmosphere by several degrees causing extended winters and brief, if nonexistent summers.

Powered by

About Jet Gardner

I like collecting books, music, movies, chess sets and friends
  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Thanks to whomever published this, I didn’t get a publish notice, but thanks regardless-Jet

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Thanks Lisa McKay, I figured it was you… Jet

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    well now Jet… not being too gloomy here

    heh

    as you mention, the caldera is relatively old news for those who pay attention to such things

    but like Pompeii.. who listens when the sun is shining, eh?

    but it does make my choosing th ewoods of Maine to appear a bit more sane… never trusted anything west of the Mississippi river, such “young” country has so many growing Pains to still go through… not to mention the Issues with water

    thought for ya.. geologically linked to the area you speak of, are the massive natural gas fields of Wyoming and the like… some Theories have that such deposits are part of the fuel for such devastating eruptions, or can suffer ignition due to same eruptions…

    how’s THAT fer some Scary in the Mix?

    Excelsior?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Sounds like fun, Jet. Boy, am I glad to have moved from the States now. If the Iranians don’t go boom! nature will.

    It’s not nice to fool with mother nature you know…

    Hey guys, how about meeting in Jellystone National Park next year?

    Ruvy,
    who is smarter than the average bear

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Thanks Gonzo, I’m glad someone feels safe in their own back yard. Appreciate your contribution.

    Jet

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Yeah Ruvy, we could take a well-timed photo of all the editors in front of “Old Faithful”.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    As for it being “old news” Gonzo, it was new to me so I figured it might be of interest to others as uneducated as myself. I guess this means I’ll have to find yet another way to blow up the world.

    (snickers sinisterly)
    Jet

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    heh…old news is right…

    i mean, even in yer article it clearly states that the caldera is about 40,000 years past due

    so it stands to figure, it was a breaking Story about 39,000 years ago… but definately pushed to the back burner now

    i mean, c’mon… a tad dated, eh?

    heh… ya know i’m just messing with ya

    and Ruvy, you bringing the pic-a-nic bas-ket?

    Excelsior?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Gonzo: I know you were just messin’ What isn’t old news is the cluster of quakes in the zone July 10th which is why I thought it might become current news.

    Why wasn’t I invited, I make a mean potatoe salad.

    Carus deus, quis have ego commissio?
    Jet

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    invited?

    Jet it was yer Party!!

    and where’d ya learn ta spell potato? Dan Quayle?

    but i digress…

    Excelsior?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Does that mean I’d have to change party affiliations to answer that question?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    nah.. just that ya might have “crossed the aisle” when it came to spelling…

    and since Aaron is passed, all ya get is Tori..

    heh

    Excelsior?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    This may be “old” news to people who have studied geology or paid much attention to science publications, but there are still plenty of mainstream readers who know very little about it. A well-written article about the Yellowstone supervolcano is always timely, even if some may question its relevance to the fast-moving world of celebrity gossip and reality TV shows.

    Let’s all hope it stays that way. If the predicted event happens in our lifetime, there will no longer be any room for debating whether we need to care about it.

    Those who survive the initial event will instead be debating how to survive the aftermath.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    geeez. Vic.. so Literal…

    i had thought it obvious i meant “old” for anyone under the age of 40,000 years…

    but your Point is well stated, it is indeed something the vast majority of folks have either never heard of, or not thought of twice

    hence, all props ta the Jetster fer burrowing out the molten Truth from the ash of informational deritus and Communicating it to us all in a steadily flowing magma of Prose that erupts with pertinent data and cools into an obsidian sheen of thinking and Reason…

    Excelsior?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Gonzo#12 Well I AM a conservative trapped in a liberal’s body!

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I’m still waiting to see if they come up with and ad for a “volcano” ring tone up top (snicker)

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Victor, thanks and welcome to the fray. this caught my attention when I was perusing the news and saw the multiple quakes news July 10th.

    Thanks my friend.
    Jet

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Gonzo #14……..uh huh

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Personally I think we ought to drill down underneath Yellowstone and start tapping as much geothermal energy from there as we possibly can.

    Use the energy to manufacture ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, and any other fuel we could synthesize if we didn’t care how much energy it cost. Generate electricity and hook it up to the continental grid. Drain as much energy from that puppy as human ingenuity can possibly drain.

    Of course geologists today will say we could never drain enough to defuse the ticking time bomb. But our top scientists also used to think the oceans were a limitless dumping ground, too vast for human activity to significantly contaminate. They used to think the forests were too vast for humans to use up.

    For centuries humans have been demonstrating the power to falsify predictions about various supposedly unlimited resources. Maybe for once we could use this power for good.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    excellent Thought there Victor…

    and mores the Pity that exactly that isn’t being looked into by the so-called “energy industry”

    start up the company…

    i’d submit my resume

    Excelsior?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I had the same thought Victor, but we’d have to get through the nuts screaming about destroying the natural beauty or the ecosystem.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Gonzo you’d give up arms dealing?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    hey now.. that’s a fragment of yer own feverish Madness….

    i only have the 2 arms, no deals

    but Victor’s suggestion is an excellent Thought, and i’d sign up in a new york second
    (for the Record: a New York Second is a classic euphamism for the shortest measurable unit of Time… the duration between a light turning green and a new york cabbie hitting his horn behind you)

    Excelsior?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    ’nuff said Gonzo, Thanks for contributing

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    and he Thanks me…..?

    mwahahahhHAHAHahaahHAHAhhaaHAHAHhaahahHAHHAHahaaa…

    did i say that out loud?

    Excelsior?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    I’ve missed something?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    The Yellowstone volcano is frickin’ huge. There’s probably some part of it outside the protected area, or at least someplace where we can drill down at an angle to reach it without disturbing any wildlife or natural ecosystems.

    Geothermal energy facilities could hardly ruin the natural beauty any more quickly than the constant flood of RVs and SUVs passing through.

    And nothing we can do will ruin the scenery faster than a gigantic volcanic explosion would.

  • Steve

    I just finished reading Simon Winchester’s “A Crack At The Edge Of The World” about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but he did go into some detail about other seismic hotspots in the US like Yellowstone. I still think a geologically big earthquake is going to happen in California before Yellowstone erupts, though.

  • Clavos

    With any kind of luck, Tom Cruise will slide into the Pacific when it happens.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Victor, It’s like the sign I used to have in my office “If it makes sense, it’s against company policy”

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Re #16-I don’t believe it-they actually came up with an ad for volcano ring tones! oy vay

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Steve I expect the fault line between St. Louis and Memphis to go first. Thanks for joining our little fray here

    Jet

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Right Clavos, and John Travolta can go with him and they can wait for scientology space aliens to pick them up.

  • Mohjho

    Hey Gonzo
    While our California slides into the ocean, and Midwest gets buried in dust, the east coasters get the Canary island mega tsunami.
    Surfs up!

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Hmmmmm Mohjho, that’s giving me an idea for a new satire… Now what can I do to Maine?

  • http://catherinejames.blogspot.com/ cat

    Does looking forward to the possibility of my own death when this cataclysmic event occurs make me a nilihist? I know the belief that with my luck I’ll probably be among the survivors who inhale just enough dust to make the duration of existance on earth more hellacious than it presently is, just makes me a pessimist. I can live with the latter, not so comfortable with the former…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    We ought to create a series for these articles. This one goes nicely about mine with the super-bore that’s going to destroy St. Louis when we get a 100 year earthquake in the Mississippi Valley, which we’re also past due for.

    Dave

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Cat #36 You sound like the computer scientist from “War Games” that intentionally moved to a home near a military target so he’d be the first to go instead of one of those who suffered after a nuclear attack.

    While that has it’s appeal and it’d be wonderful to live at the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon, with the beautiful scenery and look forward to an eruption, I’d rather not live with a yard sign that said “The end is near”

    …Did I really just type that?

    there’s hope for me yet!

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Dave see comment 32… Thanks for the heads-up I was researching that article when I discovered this one.

    That was going to be my follow up, but now I won’t step on your toes.

    Could I have a link to it?

    Jet

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Not to worry, Dave Nalle just inspired a solution to the whole problem. I’ll write a quake on the New Madrid fault so huge that it’ll splash the entire Missississississippi into the air, put out the fires the volcano started, cool the lava into its own dam and keep it from spreading east of Austin TX.

    We can all watch it from the new BlogCritics blimp that Eric’s building!!!!!

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Victor you raise an interesting question, how would one prepare for Yellowstone blowing up?

  • http://www.nationalvanguard.com/ Richard Brodie

    how would one prepare for Yellowstone blowing up?

    Move somewhere outside the ash-fall zones, and have very big supply of food, seeds, warm clothing, matches, weapons, basic farming and construction tools, and precious metals.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    It’s tempting to move away from disaster hazards, but ultimately futile. No matter where you go, something catastrophic could happen near you. Every spot on this planet is within range of an asteroid strike, for example.

    Rather than try to avoid or prepare for any specific disaster, it’s a good idea to take prudent steps that will make you better prepared for any disaster.

    If for some reason you happen to survive the initial event, being prepared both physically and mentally can give you a much better chance to get out of the disaster zone and reach some place of relative safety.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Richard how would precious metals help? I’d think they’d be useless in a disaster and a better bartering tool would be the food.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Precious metals are useful in many situations simply because some sucker thinks they’re valuable. Plus if it happens to be silver you’ve stockpiled, you can melt it down and make bullets out of it, just in case you’re attacked by werewolves.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    It’s one of the few things Gilligan’s Island taught us… money doesn’t mean anything in an emergency. Food, water and friends.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    I agree, Jet, but I’d place those priorities in the reverse order. If a severe disaster forces you to leave your home, the ability to acquire water, shelter, and food will be far more important to your survival than any amount of these things you could possibly carry with you. And being in a group of friends who can help each other will be far more precious than any amount of gold you could possibly carry.

  • http://catherinejames.blogspot.com/ cat

    Aw come on Jet–I’d never blatanly advertise such apocalyptic views to the neighbors. =)

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Cat……. point taken

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    At the first rumble I’m headed for Canada Victor

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    …and of course out here in Seattle we’ve got the slumbering overdue giant Mt. Rainier to concern ourselves with (actually I’d be REALLY concerned if I lived in Tacoma). That in addition to the recent renewal of mild volcanic activity at Mt. St Helens.

    I have so enjoyed the recent apocalyptic direction of your articles though Jet, being something of a “watcher” of the signs of the times myself (strictly amateur though I assure you).

    The next thing you oughtta look into is the European Union…and I will simply leave it at that and to your own “nose for news” (hint: Google the name Javier Solana).

    Good stuff as always though Mr. Jet.

    -Glen

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I’m wondering about the ash cloud. From what I’ve read in the past volcanic ash makes good fertilizer in limited amounts. Aside from the artificial winter for a few years, the areas where the ash didn’t just bury everything would recover halfway decently in less than a decade. Of course, who’s got a decade’s worth of food stored up?

    Dave

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Glen I thought Xavier Cugat was dead? Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Dave, Volcanic ash was the first Roman “secret” ingrediant” that made concrete & mortar work, which I eluded to in the article. maybe a good barter tool in the rebuild.

    Your new truck could come in handy.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Actually I was thinking more along the lines of “U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH CALLS ON WORLD’S COMEDIANS TO FLY TO CARIBBEAN TO HELP WITH LATEST TROPICAL DEPRESSION!”

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    I’ve got a decade’s worth of food, but all the labels say is “Soylent Green” — I wonder what that could mean?

    Of course, once the megavolcano goes off, transforming the entire Midwest into a vast wasteland, a flat and lifeless plain where the lone and level sands stretch far away, not everybody will be put out.

    I’m sure an executive at Wal-Mart will look at it and say: “Sweet! Now that’s what I call a parking lot!”

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Of course, once the megavolcano goes off, transforming the entire Midwest into a vast wasteland, a flat and lifeless plain where the lone and level sands stretch far away, not everybody will be put out.

    So you’re saying they’re just going to make Oklahoma bigger?

    Dave

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    DAMN IT THIS IS A SERIOUS ISSUE!!!! No stop clowning around and… Oh never mind

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    We’re just trying to cure that tropical depression our Commander in Chief warned us about, Jet.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    You’ve succeeded-Thanks Victor

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Dave 57… why would anyone want to make Oklahoma bigger? I hate musicals anyway!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    The musical WOULD be more enjoyable if the entire cast weighed like 400lbs or more.

    Dave

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Ah! So instead of enlarging it, you’re trying to sink/start another caldera in Oklahoma in which the lava would flow and collect harmlessly.

    Very clever!

  • Just a kid

    I may be a kid, but I can have an opinion right? Well at the same time of reading this article, I’m watchin Discovery Channel and the information is pretty similar. Good work on it. The comments are quite off-topic but here and there it works. Does anyone think that there may be a way to at least make an estimate on when it will erupt so that people will have a chance to get away? And well if not, when it should be announced on TV as its about to erupt, they should tell people to leave orderly so they all will live instead of dying horribly in a massive wave of hot ash from the several different eruptions. Am I right or just crazy for thinking that people can do that?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Just a Kid… I’m pretty sure it’ll be pretty hard to predict, pretty hard to miss, and nowhere to run even if they could.

    Thanks for contributing
    Jet