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Thread: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

  1. #381
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Apparently Yellowstone had a quake on the 31st of March. Might explain the animals running, they are feeling the rumbling?


    Yellowstone National Park Hit By Magnitude 4.8 Earthquake

    Reuters


    Posted: Updated:


    By Laura Zuckerman

    March 30 (Reuters) - Yellowstone National Park, which sits atop one of the world's largest super-volcanoes, was struck on Sunday by a magnitude 4.8 earthquake, the biggest recorded there since February 1980, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

    The tremor, a relatively light event by seismic standards, struck the northwest corner of the park and capped a flurry of smaller quakes at Yellowstone since Thursday, geologists at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations said in a statement.

    The latest earthquake struck at 6:34 a.m. near the Norris Geyser Basin and was felt about 23 miles (37 km) away in two small Montana towns adjacent to year-around entrances to the park - Gardiner and West Yellowstone.

    The national park spans 3,472 square miles (8,992 square km) of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, and draws about 3 million visitors each year to its iconic geysers and wildlife attractions, including bison.

    A U.S. Geological Survey team planned to tour the Norris Geyser Basin on Sunday to determine if the quake altered any of Yellowstone's geothermal features, such as geysers, mud pots and hot springs.

    Several people reported having felt shaking they compared to the rumble of a tractor-trailer truck driving by, and a few items fell off the shelves at a local grocery store, a West Yellowstone police dispatcher said.

    About 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes strike Yellowstone each year, according to the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, a research partnership of the park, the University of Utah and the U.S. Geological Survey.

    The ancient super-volcano, or caldera, that lies beneath the surface of the park was discovered by scientists in recent years to be 2.5 times larger than previously thought, measured at 30 miles (48 km) wide, according to the park.

    Sunday's quake occurred near the center of an area of ground uplift that geologists have been tracking for several months, University of Utah seismologists said. Elevated seismic activity was also found in the area during a previous period of uplift from 1996 to 2003.

    The recent spike in earthquake activity at Yellowstone is linked to the uplift, which in turn is caused by the upward movement of molten rock beneath the Earth's crust, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

    Fortunately, there was no indication that the recent seismic activity signaled an impending eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera, scientists said.

    Researchers with the observatory have said in the past that catastrophic eruptions by the super-volcano are unlikely for tens of thousands of years, though less extreme lava releases could occur within thousands of years.

    The super-volcano's most cataclysmic eruption occurred 2 million years ago, covering half of North America with ash and killing prehistoric animals as far as away as modern-day Nebraska, according to the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

    Heat from a vast chamber of molten rock beneath the caldera fuels the park's famous geothermal features, including Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone scientists say. (Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler)
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  2. #382
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Were bison fleeing the earthquake?

    Some believe wildlife has a sixth sense for detecting natural disasters before they hit. Video of a herd of bison stampeding down a highway in Yellowstone National Park has some questioning whether they're just running, or running for their lives.






    Some believe wildlife has a sixth sense for detecting natural disasters before they hit. Video of a herd of bison stampeding down a highway in Yellowstone National Park has some questioning whether they're just running, or running for their lives.


    We've seen it before in nature documentaries: flamingos suddenly and inexplicably flee hours before a tsunami while water buffalo stampede away from the sea.


    So maybe it's not surprising that a video started a stampede of rumors, captioned "alert! Yellowstone buffalo running for their lives," it was posted a week and a half before an earthquake measuring 4.7 rattled Yellowstone this past Sunday.


    "We get some pretty wild rumors out there," said Al Nash, public affairs chief for Yellowstone National Park.


    Especially because Yellowstone is sitting on what's called a super volcano, which explains all the bubbling and spraying, and if the super volcano ever blew, it would explode with the force 10 times that of Mount St. Helens.


    We never discovered who posted the running bison video and some call it fake, but it caught the eye of survivalists.


    Park officials are ready to knock down the theories.


    "Those bison are running because that's what they do every day in Yellowstone. This is the time of the year when bison naturally migrate in and out through the park," said Jake Lowenstern, scientist-in-charge at Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.


    Migrating to forage, the scientist in charge of the Yellowstone volcano observatory says despite recent seismic activity.


    "We don't anticipate an eruption anytime soon," said Lowenstern.


    And as for the running bison?


    "We don't find this very convincing new evidence," he said.


    If you want a predictor of seismic activity, maybe you should ask Redwood ants. A three year German study of ants living in mounds on a fault line showed that the ants moved out of their mounds right before earthquakes measuring 2.0 and up.


    But wait a minute, which way were those buffalo going?


    "I know exactly where those bison were headed because it's about 100 yards from my house. They were headed back into the park," said Lowenstern.
    Towards the super volcano?


    "They are running into the park," he said. "If I stayed on the phone with you for 15 min longer I can probably point the camera out the window and show you a bison running down my cul-de-sac."


    Talk about a story hitting a dead end. Wherever they're headed, at least those bison know enough to run in the right lane and pass on the left.
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  3. #383
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Animals don't have some kind of innate sense that a volcano is going to blow.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    http://kfor.com/2014/04/03/animals-r...ing-they-dont/

    Animals running from Yellowstone have residents worrying ...

    kfor.com-19 minutes ago
    The mass exodus from Yellowstone National Park has Wyoming residents fearing the creatures know something they don't. KPLR reported ...
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
    Animals don't have some kind of innate sense that a volcano is going to blow.
    I don't believe that Mal. I think they do.

    I know of instances where ants leave colonies before a quake (One of those articles mentions this very thing) and animals in the ocean know to leave before tsunamis hit (Not ALL fish, but a lot of them leave).

    Cats and dogs exhibit odd behavior before quakes.

    Even if they don't what's the explanation for the animals moving away from the park?

    I'm certain some of them can hear sounds in the earth. I know we can set up sensing devices that "hear" low frequency groans from beneath the surface, so perhaps some animals (bison anyone?) have a much lower hearing range or can detect vibrations through their feet?

    I don't know. I just know this started a couple of days ago and others have observed it besides just random bloggers. News people are going there to check it out, so there's something to this.
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    April 01, 2014 7:29 am Quake shakes Yellowstone Sunday

    Written by Gib Mathers

    Steam erupts from a vent in the Norris Geyser Basin on Nov. 22. National Park Service photo by Jim Peaco


    Biggest temblor in 34 years may not be linked to massive underground volcano



    The biggest earthquake in 34 years rolled Yellowstone National Park Sunday morning, but no damage or injuries have been reported.



    In fact, most people in the area either slept through it or did not even feel it. At 6:34 a.m. the magnitude 4.8 quake shook 4 miles north-northeast of Norris Geyser Basin, which is 18 miles south of Gardiner, Mont., at a depths of 4.2 miles.


    “It was considered pretty light by seismic standards,” said Dan Hottle, a Yellowstone Park spokesperson at Mammoth Hot Springs. “No injuries, no damages.”
    Like lots of people on Sunday morning, Hottle was sleeping in.


    “Most of us slept right through it,” said Rebecca Demaree of Gardiner. “I didn’t feel a thing.”


    “I wasn’t even aware that we had an earthquake on Sunday,” said Jeremy Medeiros of West Yellowstone.


    “It woke the town up, but there were no damages,” said Barbara Shesky, executive director of the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce.


    The big caldera beneath at least one-fourth of Yellowstone isn’t to blame, or at least is not the prime seismic suspect.


    “This one seems to be more tectonic in nature,” said Jamie Farrell, seismologist with the University of Utah in a reference to the plates that make up the earth’s crust.


    He said it appears to have been a slip on a fault, with subterranean rock sliding against other rock north of the caldera. But the caldera could have added stress to facilitate the quake, Farrell said.


    According to a Geological Survey Yellowstone Caldera map, Norris is just a few miles north of the volcanic crater.


    The likelihood of the caldera erupting in the future is slim, he said. In fact, Farrell said he is not even 100 percent convinced it will ever occur.


    “The least likely but worst-case volcanic eruption at Yellowstone would be another explosive caldera-forming eruption such as those that occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 640,000 years ago,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey.


    However, the probability of such an eruption in any given century or millennium is exceedingly low. The last time the caldera blew in Yellowstone was just a blink of the eye in geological time, but Earth has been around more than 3.5 billion years, making geological time just shy of infinite.


    The most recent caldera blow was 70,000 years ago in the Pitchstone Plateau in southwest corner of Yellowstone. The direction of lava flows remains visible on topographical maps, Farrell said.


    Farrell and his colleague will continue to monitor the data from Sunday’s quake and continue to monitor Yellowstone’s seismic activity.


    The 4.8 quake was the largest of four that rocked the park Sunday, which is not unusual. Yellowstone has 1,500 to 2,000 earthquakes annually, Farrell said.


    A quake at 4:36 a.m., a magnitude 3 quake got the seismic ball rolling 17 miles south of Gardiner. At 1:14 p.m. a magnitude 3 quake hit 16 miles south of Gardiner and at 5:59 p.m., and another tremor shook the ground 17 miles south of Gardiner with a magnitude 3.5, according to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.


    Despite all the temblors, people who live north and west of the epicenter barely detected the quake. Sunday’s shakeup was part of a series of at least 25 quakes kicking off since Thursday.


    “The magnitude 4.8 main shock was reportedly felt in Yellowstone National Park and in the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Mont.,” said Utah Seismograph Stations.


    A magnitude 4 is considerably bigger than a magnitude 3, Farrell said.


    The largest recorded earthquake in the world was May 22, 1960, in Chile with a magnitude of 9.5, Farrell said. In that quake 1,655 people were killed, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.


    Sunday’s quake was the largest in Yellowstone since Feb. 2 1980, when a magnitude 4.8 quake struck. The August 1959 Hebgen Lake quake just outside Yellowstone, was a 7.3 magnitude, Farrell said.


    The Geological Survey would like to record people’s feelings about earthquakes they experienced. Go to the U.S. Geological Survey’s webpage, “Did You Feel It?” at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/ and tell your recent earthquake story.
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    And Chile just had another 7.5 magnitude quake last night.


    Plate movements cause them to push against other plates. I can see the connection where one plate pushes another plate. The plates to the East are pushed by plates in the west.

    There have been a LOT of quakes along the "Ring of Fire" lately... which is just west of the North American plate and the South American plate.

    If one quake is the release of energy, a plate snapping Eastward, then the eastern plates will gain some of that energy being pushed on. ANY volcanic tubes, magma areas can be pushed up or down.

    The mountains to the west of Yellowstone are volcanic. Yellowstone in volcanic. regardless of the animals' abilities to sense or not seismic activity, something is definitely happening.
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Apr 3, 2014
    Animals Allegedly Fleeing Yellowstone Results In Yellowstone Volcano Search Trend









    Reports across social media that animals are allegedly fleeing
    Yellowstone National Park have caused Yellowstone Volcano to trend on
    Google today.

    The reports of animals fleeing started to surface April 2nd following
    a series of low level earthquakes in the world famous park March 30th.
    The park sits on top of the Yellowstone Caldera and Super Volcano, and
    although not having erupted for 640,000 years, is still an active
    hotspot.

    For those who have never read a Super Volcano thriller (Harry Turtledove’s Super Volcano series
    is a good read) or studied science, there remains a real danger that
    the Yellowstone Caldera could explode in the future, although whether
    that’s tomorrow or 500,000 years from now is something science is yet to
    answer.


    A super volcano eruption in Yellowstone would devastate the United
    States, killing millions and potentially destroying everything in an
    arch to the East, South, and South East of the park all the way through
    to the Midwest.

    In most scenarios, and has been proven to an extent by science with
    recorded volcanic eruptions previously, volcanic events are usually
    preceded by seismic events.

    The actions of the allegedly fleeing animals as a forewarning to
    disaster also has some ground in science, with evidence that animals can
    detect patterns in nature preceding events such as earthquakes.

    Even so, there is no solid evidence of a mass evacuation of animals from Yellowstone National Park, although there have been some reports of some animals fleeing. One herd of animals though does not equal a mass evacuation in advance of a super volcano explosion.

    For those interested in reading more about the Yellowstone Caldera, Wikipedia is a good place to start.
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  9. #389
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Well, about the only thing I know for sure is that Dogs spin in circles until they are aligned north/south before they poop.

    Ants are not animals, they are bugs. They might be able to detect micro vibrations.

    Dumb Bison are just running to and fro.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    LOL. Bison are pretty dumb. But, they aren't completely daft. They guard their flanks - big males usually do it.

    I've tracked them before, and I've walked through herds of them back in Oklahoma when the herd split into two sections across roads. They send guards out who "patrol" along the edge of the herd and watch intruders (like me and my hunting buddies for instance) as they intruders approach or leave.

    Two of us got chased once. I threw my pack and ran for my life, my friend didn't drop his pack and got hooked by one and thrown, but not stomped (fortunately). It ran off after I pelted it with rocks.

    So I think we can see this from a different standpoint. I don't think there is anything "mysterious" or "magical" or "paranormal" about animals "sensing things".

    If you, yourself, a human, spends a LOT of time out in the woods you will become "attuned" to nature around you. You will begin to notice clouds and predict the weather, along the coast you can predict the tides with uncanny accuracy without looking things up. You can see the changes in the water level and note times when fish surface, birds feed and so forth.

    If a human can spend time in the wilderness and begin to see things a non-observer (a visitor with no time in the woods) won't see - then animals, who live there all the time likely see disturbances, hear things, or smell things that don't smell right and leave.

    I KNOW that animals flee before fires get anywhere near them. When the fires started over the last two years, deer, antelope and smaller creatures fled before the fires were anywhere near their locations, sending deer into the towns and through them. We had deer all the way out here on the plains that had fled from the mountain side that was burning.

    So - not so much of a "sensing" of something coming, but more of a "I saw something that scared me and I ran away" thing.
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog...owstone-quakes
    Science Journal: No need for panic over Yellowstone quakes



    Submitted by John Leacock on April 2, 2014 - 5:36pm Science Journal






    Does a recent outbreak of earthquakes point to an awakening super volcano? Not really, experts say.


    Bloggers have posted photos of bison fleeing Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in droves. The bloggers say this is further evidence that the big one is getting ready to go off there. That and the recent earthquakes.


    Yellowstone National Park is home to a giant volcanic crater, a caldera. And recently it's been the home of hundreds of earthquakes, from 4.8 magnitude down.
    The last major eruption in the park is thought to have happened around 640,000 years ago and sent ash across the entire North America, said an article in Epoch Times online.


    The article also said that "a series of smaller quakes have hit the region over the past few weeks, and those quakes have been linked to the recent 5.1 magnitude quake (and aftershocks) that hit in the Los Angeles region."


    But scientists say numerous small quakes aren't unusual in the area and thus are not an indication that the caldera is readying to blow.


    "The United States Geological Service’s Yellowstone Observatory emphasized in a February bulletin that earthquake activity in and around Yellowstone is normal, because between 1,000 and 3,000 typically occur each year."


    Also, the structure of the caldera makes a big one unlikely, the United States Geological Service is quoted as saying.


    " ... The caldera’s interior is largely covered by rhyolites, most erupted in the past 160,000 years. Large hydrothermal (steam)-explosion craters formed in the past 14,000 years are located near Yellowstone Lake and in major geyser basins.


    “Any renewed volcanic activity at Yellowstone would most likely take the form of such mainly nonexplosive lava eruptions. An eruption of lava could cause widespread havoc in the park, including fires and the loss of roads and facilities, but more distant areas would probably remain largely unaffected.”
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    As quakes shake globe, what about High Desert?

    Could Oregon be next? Experts urge being ready -- just in case

    By Katie Higgins
    POSTED: 7:28 PM PDT April 2, 2014



    How earthquakes effect Central Oregon

    BEND, Ore. - First, Southern California shook with a magnitude 5.1 earthquake. Then, an even bigger one off the coast of Chile -- this one at a terrifying 8.2 magnitude. That's shaking up the question here in Central Oregon: Could we be next?

    "You know, earthquakes are a top-level hazard in the state of Oregon," Laurie VanLeuven of Oregon Department of Emergency Management said Wednesday.

    Similar to California and Chile, Oregon lies on the "Ring of Fire," an area with high volcanic and seismic activity. Multiple fault lines hide beneath the High Desert as well.

    "We have several local crustal faults that will give you California-style earthquakes here in the Bend area." said Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management.

    Fortunately for us, the recent earthquakes cannot trigger shaking here. That's not to say it won't happen, though.

    "We're always due for one," Rizzo said.

    The idea that we could "due for one" after a certain amount of time doesn't apply to earthquakes the same way as other natural phenomena. There is no specific season for quakes, like there is for hurricanes or tornadoes.

    The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a large fault right off the Oregon coast. The last quake it caused was in 1700, figured at a whopping 9.0 magnitude quake or higher.

    "Yeah, that's a very, very large earthquake," Rizzo said.

    It's a scary thought that could become a reality during our lifetime.

    "There's a 37 percent chance in the next 50 years," Rizzo said.

    That means that this fault could shift within our lifetime -- or during our children's lifetime. So Oregon Emergency Management wants you to be prepared.

    "Make sure you take care of everything that you can," VanLeuven said.

    "Depending on where you are in Oregon when Cascadia happens, you could be on your own for about three weeks," Rizzo said.

    That's a long time -- which means now is a good time to make a family plan. Because while you can't control natural disasters, there are some things you can control.

    "You can control how you prepare for it," Rizzo said.

    One piece of information for a little peace of mind is that earthquakes cannot trigger volcanic activity in dormant volcanoes.
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    If I'm reading this simplistic view of things right, the Pacific Plate moves NW across the North America plate. A few days ago a quake hit in California. Then a few days later Chile gets whacked with an enormous quake.

    Theory: The Pacific plate moved, caused a localized quake in CA. Released Pressure on the Nazca Plate (and at the subduction zone caused the Nazca plate to lurch out from under) thus causing the major quake in Chile.

    Prediction: quakes off the coast of Alaska, the Aleutians, Polustrov/Kamchatka in the next few days. Nothing too serious I donít think -- 4.5-6.5 probably no higher and/or quakes off the Filipino Plate. Also possibly quakes of larger sizes down off Fiji and New Zealand.

    If you are interested, you can read why I think this, and some of the information behind it. I'll upload it as a document because I can't embed the images at the moment. Maybe a bit later I can fix that.

    Ok, obviously I'm being blocked from uploading. I'll have to do it later.

    In the mean time, just wait a bit...
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Yellowstone supervolcano: Videos show animals 'fleeing' but we've nothing to fear









    Alarmist claims online mistook normal migration for the animals panicking


    James Vincent



    Friday 04 April 2014




    Videos of lines of bison and other animals ‘fleeing’ Yellowstone National Park in the US have raised fears that the supervolcano underneath the park is preparing to erupt, but how much truth –if any – is there to this claim?




    The clip in question was uploaded to YouTube with the title “ALERT! Yellowstone Buffalo Running for Their Lives!” and quickly circulated around online blogs with one commentator, a survivalist named Tom Lupshu, offering a typical assessment that the animals had detected “something vast and deadly.”


    “The Yellowstone supervolcano is the only thing there that would fit the bill,” says Lupshu.


    But is the supervolcano really that scary? Well, in theory, yes. After asteroid strikes, supervolcanoes are the "second most globally cataclysmic event" that can affect the Earth, and in the past they've been responsible for mass extinctions and 'volcanic winters' lasting for year.


    In pictures: Yellowstone National Park
    1 of 10






    The Yellowstone supervolcano itself is an active hotspot, it has a massive magma chamber (scientists estimated last December that it was 2.5 times bigger than previously thought) and given what we know about its history, it erupts on a roughly 700,000 year cycle – with the last major eruption occurring some 640,000 years ago.


    A cataclysmic eruption from the supervolcano some 2.1 million years ago is thought to have killed off thousands of prehistoric animals and covered nearly half of North America with ash and dust. In a nut-shell, the fear is that Yellowstone is overdue - and that the bison (below) are the first to figure it out.


    However, Yellowstone Park authorities have stepped into the breach to clear up the muddle, with Public Affairs chief Al Nash calmly pointing out that the video of the bison 'fleeing' actually shows normal migration patterns.


    “We do have bison, elk and other animals that have moved outside the park recently,” explains Nash in a video on YouTube, “but they’re doing that because it’s the depth of winter. Food is a little hard to find in places inside Yellowstone and they tend to migrate at this time of the winter outside of the park to lower elevations where they think there might be something to eat that’s easier to get at.”


    “When the snow melts off and things start to green those very same animals will walk straight back into the park,” says Nash, who also points out that although the park has been hit by some large earthquakes in recent weeks, none of these are beyond the bounds of normal seismic activity.


    For online rumour-mongers though, the fact that the bisons' 'flight' occurred at the same time as the earthquake is extra evidence that Yellowstone is about to blow. However, this just raises another question: do animals really have a sixth sense that can detect this sort of cataclysmic event?


    The answer is not as clear cut as you might think. Although there's a wealth of anecdotal evidence describing animals behaving bizarrely in the hours or minutes leading up to an earthquake, there's no scientific agreement as to what forces might actually be in play.


    The most widely-accepted theory is that the movement of underground rocks prior to an earthquake generates some sort of electrical signal that is only perceptible to animals, but reports of which animals are affected and in what circumstances are so varied that it's impossible to offer a single, conclusive explanation.


    One case-study from Italy in 2009 suggested that toads that fled an area prior to an earthquake had done so because of changes to the chemical composition of the groundwater, while a recent project linking the movement of bats and birds with earthquakes suggests that it's the animals' ability to detect magnetic fields that gives them advanced warning.


    Most of these explanations are linked to the generation of some sort of electrical signal underground, but exactly how and why this ends up tipping off the animals is still not fully understood. We may know what's causing the Yellowstone bisons to move but there's still a lot about this phenomenon we don't understand.
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  15. #395
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Can Animals Predict Disaster?
    Tall Tales or True?





    We’ve all heard them: the tales of dogs barking before the big earthquake hit; wildlife behaving strangely before the big hurricane; earthworms pouring out of the ground just before the big flood strikes.


    Tall tales … or true?


    Researchers say it’s probably a little bit of both. Plenty of studies have shown that some animals can sense major changes in the weather. Worms, for instance, are known to flee rising groundwater. Birds are known to be sensitive to air pressure changes, and often hunker down before a big storm. And in Florida, researchers studying tagged sharks say they flee to deeper water just before a big hurricane arrives. They also may be sensing the air and water pressure changes caused by the big storm.



    Geologist Jim Berkland claims to have a formula that uses animal behavior to accurately forecast earthquakes.


    “I think these animals are more attuned to their environment than we give them credit for,” Michelle Heupel, a scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory who worked on the shark study, has told reporters. “When things change, they may not understand why it’s happening, but the change itself may trigger some instinct to move to an area that is safer for them.”


    But can your kitty or puppy give you a cue that a big quake is coming? Researchers are skeptical. After years of study, the U.S. Geological Survey has this to say: “Changes in animal behavior cannot be used to predict earthquakes. Even though there have been documented cases of unusual animal behavior prior to earthquakes, a reproducible connection between a specific behavior and the occurrence of an earthquake has not been made. Animals change their behavior for many reasons and given that an earthquake can shake millions of people, it is likely that a few of their pets will, by chance, be acting strangely before an earthquake.”


    What about other animal trends? In NATURE’s Can Animals Predict Disaster?, for instance, one geologist says he sees an increasing number of missing pets documented in the local classified ads just before an earthquake strikes in California. He, in fact, predicted the famous San Francisco earthquake of 1989. The theory is that the animals are fleeing the impending quake.


    Again, other scientists doubt this. USGS scientists, for instance, say even simple science fair projects will show little statistical association. (See Do Lost Pet Ads Predict Earthquakes?)


    Similarly, scientists are skeptical that any special “sixth sense” helped animals survive the great tsunami that swept the Indian Ocean in 2004. After the wave, people reported seeing animals fleeing to forests on high ground and finding few bodies of dead animals. But scientists note that little hard data exists, and that many animals may have survived simply because they are strong swimmers or able to scamper up trees.


    Still, researchers like Liz Von Muggenthaler — who appears in NATURE’s Can Animals Predict Disaster? — believe animals can pick up the “infrasonic” sound pulses created by storms and earthquakes, and get a head start on fleeing to safety. It would make sense, she says, that the animals learn to associate such signals with danger.


    But we should be careful not to give animals super-powers, says Whit Gibbons, an ecologist at the University of Georgia. “I always like stories of animals outsmarting humans, [but] I really don’t think animals have any special powers beyond those that help them in their daily lives,” writes Gibbons. “I do not doubt that many animals detect certain natural signals, such as the early tremblings of an earthquake, long before humans. This means they have opportunity to react before we can. But to think they are reacting any differently from someone who runs for an exit at a shout of ‘fire’ is to give wildlife more credit than is deserved.”


    “As far as running inland to get away from a tsunami, I think an antelope, flamingo, or any other fast animal would probably do so because that’s where the forests are. Feeling a trembling earth, even if minutes before we would feel it, would not give much guidance to a running or flying animal other than a response to seek safety. The woods are the safest place for most animals, so when they flee from a shoreline they go inland, which means not only woods but higher ground. Completely natural and not at all mystical.”


    Bill Barklow, a researcher who appears in this week’s NATURE, also believes animals aren’t specially adapted to avoid disaster. “I think it’s really unlikely that hippos or any animal has evolved behavior to avoid tsunamis specifically,” he says. “When they hear these infrasonic sounds that are produced by earthquakes, which happen very infrequently, they probably are just terrified of that very deep, heavy sound coming from a wide angle distant area and they just want to get out of there. So there’s a secondary benefit here. They haven’t evolved an escape behavior for tsunamis, but they are responding to infrasound, which has evolved for communication purposes.”
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  16. #396
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    I'll say this about the animals.

    IF there is a significant quake that occurs in the next few days, after the animals fled I'd say there is some empirical evidence for a "sixth sense" or some sense we don't yet understand.
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    lol

    Mal, you're going to really feel bad if Yellowstone blows up, the animals were right, and we were all wrong about everything.

    lol
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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    If I'm wrong, we'll never know because we're going to turn into "The Road".

    If I'm right, I can gloat forever on this forum.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    And as you should!

    Cuz it's gonna suck when I can't gloat! LOL

    In reality I don't think Yellowstone is going to blow up in our lifetime - not at least like it did a few hundred thousand years ago. On the other hand there could be an event that does affect the entire North American climate. All a volcano has to do is spew some ash, dust and gases into the air and the overall temperature drops a few degrees for a few years.

    In the 1770s there was a global cooling period (one of several). No one really has correlated it to anything volcanic, though there were some major erruptions around 1770 - and in around that time period in the US (from around 1770-1810ish) we experienced several "cooling" periods which have been dubbed "Little Ice Age". According to some records there was a period of at least three years (I forget the three precise years) where "summer" barely got over being a cool "spring" in the North American East coast areas.

    St. Helens lowered the global temp by about .1 degree Celsius.

    Yellowstone, even a small eruption will probably be significantly larger than St. Helens was. Chances are good it will cool the planet more.

    I suspect the animals in the video were "Migrating" or they smelled something that frightened them - like sulfurous gases or something. Animals have been killed in that area by out-gassing and I don't think it's too far fetched that they ran because they were smelling things. Most of the time the gases that kill are odorless (CO and CO2 and methane for instance). So, they would have had to smell something pretty bad to run.

    Maybe they felt or heard rumbling in the ground humans couldn't?

    Maybe they were simply running because one of them got spooked (because, you know, cows and buffalo to that).
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