I am not a geologist, although I did go to school and primarily did take geology classes, but that was years ago and not the real subject of this post. The real subject is the fact that we have a super volcano smack dab in the middle of the United States and nobody seems to be talking, or considering the risk it poses.
Yellowstone National Park is one big volcanic nightmare ready to erupt. I am not saying that an eruption is imminent but it is coming. When it goes, it has the potential to be the biggest natural disaster of our time, making Mount Saint Helens look like a joke.
Have you ever seen pictures on the TV, in movies or maybe you have been there and watched Old Faithful or the countless other geysers erupt in jets of steam. All of this, and all of the hot pools, and sulfer smelling bubbling water are caused by the heating of the area by magma that is as shallow as 5 miles deep under the surface of the area. The entire region is a volcanic hot spot that has erupted throughout history. The last time? 640,000 years ago. The time before that: 1.3 million years ago, the time before that, 2.1 million years ago. Do the math: the volcano goes off historically around every 600,000 – 750,000 years give or take a few hundred thousand years. Is it significant that we are due for another eruption? Maybe in our lifespan?
The facts are simple. The ground is uplifting around 23 centimeters each year. This is caused by rising magma forcing the crust to lift. Earthquakes, 77 of them in the Month of June of this year are swarming (which is not uncommon). Geysers that have been dormant for years are coming to life again, and those that have been active are starting to change their schedule. All of which are signs that geologically, the area is becoming more unstable.
So what happens
if when this big super volcano erupts? Ash is going to travel for hundreds of miles, the ecological system of the area is going to be changed for a very long time and it has the potential to destroy a ton of life. Check out this report
I am not worried about an eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, but I just think the subject is really cool. The geologic processes are amazing, and in a state of flux. Look at the picture at the top of this post to see the swarm increase in the number of earthquakes for the last 30-50 years. See the increase…whooa baby. (the picture was take without permission of the author of the report linked above).
Another great Yellowstone Volcano FAQ can be found here