The Yellowstone Caldera

Discussion in 'International Current News & Events' started by allen_idaho, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. allen_idaho

    allen_idaho Well-Known Member

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    The purpose of this article is actually geared more toward the members of this site who live within the United States, as those in Canada, Mexico, or other countries overseas will not be affected in quite the same way.

    Please note that the images are courtesy of Wikipedia. While I was making images of my own, I came across the ones below which really illustrated my point perfectly.

    I am sure that most of you are familiar with Yellowstone National Park and that it is a highly active volcanic region, currently classified as a supervolcano. What you may not know is just how active it has been in the last few years and what effect it had the last time it erupted.

    First things first. Not many people realize that the Yellowstone Caldera didn't always used to be in Wyoming. In fact, just 15 million years ago, it was straddling the border of Oregon and Nevada. You see, every time it has a major eruption, the location of the caldera moves as a new caldera is formed. Over the years it has had eruption after eruption until ending up in it's current location in the Northwest corner of Wyoming.

    This is a map which plots the path that the Yellowstone Caldera has taken during it's known existance. The numbers correspond to millions of years ago. The last eruption, however, was 640,000 years ago. That is the 0.6 on the map.

    [​IMG]

    You can expect that if another eruption occurs in our lifetime, that the Yellowstone caldera will continue on it's path. Where it will end up is anyone's guess.

    Now let's take a look at the last known eruption. It occurred roughly 640,000 years ago and brought the caldera to it's current location where it was discovered in the 1800's during the Lewis & Clark expedition. This is known as the Lava Creek eruption. It is estimated that the eruption shot a plume of ash consisting of 240 cubic miles of dust, rock and debris into the air. That ash was then carried by the prevailing winds across most of the United States as illustrated in the image below.

    [​IMG]

    So what does this mean? It means that roughly 3/4 of the United States will be covered with several feet of ash. Geological research has discovered that the areas of North and South Dakota were covered by around 8-feet of ash in the Lava Creek eruption.

    This also means that the global temperature is likely to dramatically drop for anywhere from 1-3 years. Crops will likely fail. Food and fuel prices will rise. People will die.

    And that brings us to the present. Yellowstone has been under constant study since 1923. The land mass of the caldera normally rises and lowers every year by around half an inch. However, in the last few years, the land mass has risen by about 2-3 inches per year. This is usually an indication that pressure is building up within the magma chamber beneath the park. Will the caldera erupt within our lifetime? Only time will tell.

    Stay safe and be prepared. Thanks for reading.
     
  2. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

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    Great news Allen, I seem to be just out of the ash zone.
     

  3. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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  4. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

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    Well at least there's some good news. The cooling my offset global warming. Also volcanic ash is full of all kinds of minerals. Often volcanic areas have the richest soil for growing crops. After the and recovers it would probably be an overall improvement to farm land. Other than that - yes it would be pretty awful.
     
  5. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    There was a big write up in National Geographic magazine about all this a couple months ago. Not sure offhand which issue, but for those interested, they may have an article index online.
     
  6. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    Still doing more watching of the Caldera ... it was going nutz around when Haiti did its dance and now its calming back down ... should I be more or less worried?
     
  7. NORTH

    NORTH Active Member

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    From what I understand, the appearance of the eruption locations moving is due to the movement of the tectonic plates, the lava pume stays put but the plate above it moves, not that that will mean crap if it decides to blow its wad...just sayin
    Hopefully it'll be a long long time before that happens.
     
  8. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

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    :eek: I'm down wind from all the steam and ash, guess I'll have sail through the Panama Cannal and go to Bob's, he'll probably have ocean front property by then.:D
     
  9. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget to stop and pick me up on the way. :D
     
  10. Von Helman

    Von Helman A very simple man

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    Thanks for the great post,

    Very interesting and even for those who live just outside the ASH area the ramifications are great for you too. Consider the mass exodus of people leaving the ASH area if only for the health concerns and bringing those sick infected people with them. The large influx of people will drain any remaining infrastructure and food and water supply. The death and disease will be in numbers that are classified as epidemic in proportions.

    Unfortunately for those inside the ASH area there really isn’t anything one can do except to have a lot of food and water stockpiled and a shelter that can protect you until the ash winter is over even if that takes two years
    I am trying o construct my new place as fast as I can with all systems in place, but you never know when the curtain will fall.

    Great thread
     
  11. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    Welcome back Von Helman .. been missing your updates on the ranch - how did winter treat you and your ranch (Might be better in a new thread ... )
     
  12. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    For those of us "preparedness" folks outside the ash zone, I think the "people problem" will present a far more serious problem than the environmental issues. Whether it's an epidemic, economic collapse, natural disaster........I think most survivors of a calamity will be far too soft and unprepared to do anything other than try to take what you and I have. Our biggest challenge will not be dealing with floods, famine or swarms of locusts :), IMHO, it will be people, people, people. Very desparate people.
     
  13. allen_idaho

    allen_idaho Well-Known Member

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    Very well put. I agree. Whenever there is any sort of mass exodus, there will always be problems. Thousands of cold, starving people start heading in your direction, it's time to double security.
     
  14. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for popping my bubble with that map!! here I thought I was in the best location to miss just about everything and now... chit! :mad:
     
  15. Littlebit

    Littlebit Well-Known Member

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    I am not one for turning away the ederly or babies, but when it comes to someone forsing thier way into my home. I will have a surprise for them.:D
     
  16. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    I like surprises!!! Does it come with icing and candles? :sssh:
     
  17. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't like the idea, but in practice it may be necessary.
     
  18. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    On a limited scale, for those of us who live in the boondocks, a limited number of refugees knocking on our doors could be symbiotic. For example, wood gas can run generators, older tractors, freezers, water heaters and other equipment. An exchange of labor such as cutting wood in exhange for food and shelter could provide the energy to run the tractor to plow the field to grow the corn and other crops. If you haven't checked out the history of wood gasification do a little stroll on the net down history lane. Much of the European war machine ran on it. Probably the biggest dangers from refugees would be that there might well be too many of them, and controlling them. Desperate folks do desperate things.
     
  19. allen_idaho

    allen_idaho Well-Known Member

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    So what are you going to do when the trees are gone? There is only so much wood you can chop before you have to venture farther and farther to get it.

    Consider this on a global scale. Thousands of survivors in your area alone will need to cut wood to stay warm, to cook with, to bathe with, and maybe even to build with.

    One of the biggest problems posed by the industrial revolution was just that. The technology of the day was reliant on steam power. So they chopped down every tree they could get their hands on. Before you knew it, no more trees. This led to a need for other sources of fuel and brought coal into the forefront. After coal came oil.

    So once the trees are no longer in reach, what are you going to do?
     
  20. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I can't hardly build a nuke plant, but in any event, we'll be able to make do for a lot longer than those who are NOT using available resources. Besides, any form of dry organic material or organic based material (tires, coal, etc) produce what used to be called "city gas".

    Ummm. What are your plans?