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Thread: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

  1. #61
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    A comparison...

    12/26/08


    01/02/09

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    The 3.6 was downgraded to a 3.5 but, there has since been a 3.2 at a depth of 0.2km at 2:40pm ET and a 3.0 at a depth of 0.3km at 3:15pm ET. That brings the total of 3.0+ shocks to 5 just today!

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    It's estimated that if Yellowstone goes off, it will have immediate life altering impact in a 600 mile radius. Wyoming, Idaho, Montana will not be a good place to be.


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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    I think that I'll be within the immediate danger zone. I'm directly south of Cheyenne, Wyoming, roughly 400 miles, give or take.

    The winds are generally out of the west at this latitude so much of the debris cloud would blow eastward. However, a good portion will simply go UP and billow out in all directions. We will experience a heavy debris cloud as far south as Rataone Pass between Colorado and New Mexico.

    The models I've seen run (maybe I ought not say this) show things won't be good for the whole USA within 3-5 days. Airplanes will shut down completely - thus Airlines will shut down completely. Trains, cars, boats, anything with motors will be affected eastward. The majority of the cloud will flow east, but some will blow south in the southern latitudes affecting Australia in a few weeks, Europe in less than a month and Russia as well. The west cost of the US will be affected within a month.

    Life as WE know it will cease to exist. That is not to say all life will die.

    But certainly the economy will collapse, people will subsist on stored foods that haven't been affected.

    Water will have to be cleaned and filtered. Fish will die. In the first few weeks plants will die. In the ensuing months, animals will start to die off. The temperatures will be affected over the next few weeks as well and Summer will turn to fall, then winter quickly. The sun will be hazed out to the point that little light is getting through.

    This will last for many weeks, perhaps as much as 4-5 months.

    Winter (should it happen then) will be much colder.

    The tropics will chill. In six months the southern hemisphere will be greatly affected though not as bad.

    The United States will break up into small enclaves of people trying to survive.

    No "united nations" or other help will be coming. We will be on our own.

    The Russians and Chinese might attempt a little help, but will fail in the first few weeks due to airplane damages and engines being affected.

    Humans that survive in the region will begin to die from strange and awful effects of silicate poisoning.

    None of this will be pretty. Very little if any will be known throughout the world except as scattered reports coming out of what little bit of news escapes.

    The United States will die and much of Europe will be severely affected.

    Don't let people kid you - this it the TRUE worst-case scenario. If Yellowstone blows, the whole PLANET will be affected. Many of us will simply die from it.

    Plan for it. Be prepared.

    And have a Happy New Year!
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Looks like things have started to quiet back down in the last couple hours...

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Didn't keep up with this on the weekend... any thing new?
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    « Another View on the Economy
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    Yellowstone Earthquake Swarm: Latest Supervolcano Update

    January 04, 2009 09:29 AM ET | James Pethokoukis | Permanent Link | Print

    The earthquake swarm beneath Yellowstone National Park seems to have subsided for now. At least that is what the public data from the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory are telling us about the supervolcano beneath the park. Now lots of my blog's readers have raised questions as to whether we are being told the truth by the U.S. Geological Survey. (This is my chat with the head scientist at the YVO, Jacob Lowenstern.) I have been in touch this weekend with experts from around the world. Here is some of what they are telling me. (More to come. And here is a nice, though dated, piece from the Financial TImes.) First up is volcanologist Dr. R.B. Trombley of the International Volcano Research Centre:
    What does the earthquake swarm mean?

    It is our opinion, and in agreement with Dr. Robert Smith of the University of Utah, that the current events are more of a major seismic event rather than a major volcanic event. The Alert Status of Yellowstone continues, at this time, to remain at the Green Alert Level. We do not anticipate the Alert Level to be raised at this time.


    Given the current data, might the swarm be a prelude to a major seismic event ?

    It could be but the swarming is too "isolated", i.e., it is near the lake area only basically.


    What would be worrisome signs that that we might be headed to a major volcanic event ?

    Much greater magnitude earthquakes, over a larger area of the caldera.The caldera is approx. 32 mi long by 8 miles wide. I believe the gratest quake so far has only been a 3.9 and all of the 'quakes so far have been from 1 to 10 km of depth.
    I also talked to a top Hawaii-based volcanologist who was relucatant to go into specifics on the record since the scientist had only web data to go on, unlike the folks at the YVO. But I think these comments are pertinent:
    Bob Smith, who is a seismologist and a great one, is a real straight shooter and is going to tell folks what he thinks, when he has enough information to think something. Ditto for Jake Lowenstern of the USGS. So I believe them when they say that they don't really know at this point what this swarm portends as Yellowstone is very seismically active. ... The odds of a big caldera forming eruption at Yellowstone are really infinitesimal during our lifetime. While the Discovery channel documentary did a fair job of portraying how an eruption might come down, it also did a better job of whipping up anxiety about a very unlikely event. You would be much more productive hiding in your closet avoiding lightning than worrying about a Yellowstone eruption. It's a wonderful thing to ponder and try to get a grip on some of the wild things that happen on our planet, but not something to stay awake about. The last rhyolite lava eruption was 80,000 years ago or so, that's 8 times as long as human civilization and represents roughly half the time modern humans have existed, just to put in perspective. Humans tend to be a bit egocentric thinking that all this stuff is happening to them personally, when it's just happening as part of nature. Anyway, Yellowstone while certainly doing stuff, is not in the same category of likely caldera eruption as Rabaul and Campi Flegrei. ... These quakes were much bigger than the Yellowstone swarm and many many more of them. And the final eruption from 2 volcanoes at the same time turned out to be relatively "small" though it buried the town in ash.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    January 5, 2009
    Fears over earthquake 'swarm' at Yellowstone National Park


    (William Kronholm/AP)



    Yellowstone National Park: the most devastating earthquake hit August 17, 1959, which measured 7.1






    Mike Harvey in San Francisco



    Hundreds of earthquakes have hit Yellowstone National Park, raising fears of a more powerful volcanic eruption.


    The earthquake swarm, the biggest in more than 20 years, is being closely monitored by scientists and emergency authorities.


    The series of small quakes included three last Friday which measured stronger than magnitude 3.0. The strongest since this latest swarm of quakes began on December 27 was 3.9.


    No damage has yet been reported but scientists say this level of activity - there have been more than 500 tremors in the last week - is highly unusual.


    "The earthquake sequence is the most intense in this area for some years," said the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Some of the larger earthquakes have been felt by park employees and guests, according to the observatory.


    The swarm is occurring beneath the northern part of Yellowstone Lake in the park.


    Yellowstone sits on the caldera of an ancient supervolcano and continuing geothermal activity can be seen in the picturesque geysers and steam holes, such as Old Faithful.


    About 1,000 to 2,000 tremors a year have been recorded since 2004. The most devastating earthquake in recent history in the Yellowstone region occurred on August 17, 1959, when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit.


    It was centered near Hebgen Lake, Montana and it caused landslides that killed 28 people and caused more than $11 million in damage.


    Geysers in Yellowstone National park changed eruption times, and new ones began to erupt. On June 30, 1975, a magnitude 6.4 tremor hit the park.


    Professor Robert B. Smith, a geophysicist at the University of Utah and one of the leading experts on earthquake and volcanic activity at Yellowstone, said that the swarm was significant.


    "It's not business as usual," he said. "This is a large earthquake swarm, and we've recorded several hundred. We are paying careful attention. This is an important sequence."


    The last full-scale explosion of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, the Lava Creek eruption which happened approximately 640,000 years ago, ejected about 240 cubic miles of rock and dust into the sky.


    Geologists have been closely monitoring the rise and fall of the Yellowstone Plateau as an indication of changes in magma chamber pressure.


    The Yellowstone caldera floor has risen recently - almost 3in per year for the past three years - a rate more than three times greater than ever observed since such measurements began in 1923.


    From mid-summer 2004 through to mid-summer 2008, the land surface within the caldera moved upwards as much as 8in at the White Lake GPS station. The last major earthquake swarm was in 1985 and lasted three months.


    The observatory said similar swarms have occurred in the past without triggering steam explosions or volcanic activity. However, the observatory said there is some potential for explosions and that earthquakes may continue and increase in intensity.


    Joe Moore, director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, said his office is tracking the events at Yellowstone on a minute-by-minute basis. "It's being followed very closely," Mr Moore said.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    « Sorry, Climate Change Wouldn't Hurt America's Economy Obama Stimulus 2.0 »

    Yellowstone Supervolcano Earthquakes: Scientists React

    January 05, 2009 07:03 AM ET | James Pethokoukis | Permanent Link | Print

    What is the meaning of the (suddenly quiescent) earthquake swarm at Yellowstone National Park? Here are takes from two more top volcanologists. First up is Stephen Self, who presented a report on the hazards from a supervolcano eruption to the British government in 2005 and does work for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
    I think that it is part of normal background seismicity at a large caldera volcano such as Yellowstone. Such swarms probably take place every few 10s of years, but we have been monitoring these volcanoes at the present level for only about 10-20 years. Thus a swarm may seem new or unusual whereas it's really part of business-as-usual. It may signify magma moving around underneath, or hot water, but these movements take place intermittently and quasi-steadily for many 100s of thousands of years. If this swarm were followed quite quickly (months-years) by another, and then another, and the intensity and frequency was seen to rise, then a re-think of this opinion may be in order.
    Next up is Bil McGuire of University College London, also considered one of the U.K.'s top volcanologists. He has appeared frequently in television documentaries both there and in the United States:
    I have indeed been paying attention to the Yellowstone situation and there have now been more than 500 small quakes since December 26th. This is certainly somewhat unusual activity, compared to recent decades, but not particularly unusual for so-called 'restless' volcanic calderas such as Yellowstone. The Campi Flegrei caldera in the Bay of Naples, for example, experienced many thousands of earthquakes in the 70s and 80s, along with surface swelling of 1 - 2 metres, all without eruption.
    At Yellowstone, the quakes may have a number of causes, including movements along an active fault or the fracturing of rock in response to the migration of hot water or magma. Even if the latter, however, the chances are that the magma will stay beneath the surface, cool and solidify. The last eruptive activity here was a good 70,000 years ago, so the annual probability of an eruption is very small, although a steam blast left a 5 km wide crater just 13,000 years ago. So-called super-eruptions have return periods of 600 - 800,000 years or so (the last was 640,000 years ago), so the probability of another super-eruption in any single year is extremely small.
    Having said this, it is likely that another eruption will happen at Yellowstone sometime. Not only do we not know when this will happen, but we are also not well versed in differentiating the signs of unrest associated with the normal activity of the caldera from those that presage a forthcoming eruption.
    And for those of you just tuning, here is the last bulletin from the Yellowstone Volcanic Observatory on Jan. 3:
    Over 500 earthquakes, as large as M 3.9, have been recorded by an automated earthquake system since the inception of this unusual earthquake sequence that began Dec. 27, 2008. More than 300 of these events have been reviewed and evaluated by seismic analysts. Depths of the earthquakes range from ~ 1km to around 10 km. We note that the earthquakes extend northward from central Yellowstone Lake for ~10 km toward the Fishing Bridge area, with a migration of recent earthquakes toward the north. Some of the dozen M3+ earthquakes were felt in the Lake, Grant Village and Old Faithful areas. Personnel of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory continue to evaluate this earthquake sequence and will provide information to the NPS, USGS and the public as it evolves.This earthquake sequence is the most intense in this area for some years. No damage has been reported within Yellowstone National Park, nor would any be expected from earthquakes of this size. The swarm is in a region of historical earthquake activity and is close to areas of Yellowstone famous hydrothermal activity. Similar earthquake swarms have occurred in the past in Yellowstone without triggering steam explosions or volcanic activity. Nevertheless, there is some potential for hydrothermal explosions and earthquakes may continue or increase in magnitude. There is a much lower potential for related volcanic activity.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Quake swarm at Yellowstone may signal blast

    By Richard Brill

    POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 04, 2009
    (Page 1 of 2) | Single Page View

    More than 250 small earthquakes occurred in Yellowstone Park between Dec. 26 and Monday.

    Scientists wonder if last month's swarm of tremors, the most numerous and intense in this area in many years, might be a harbinger of a larger event.


    Yellowstone National Park sits atop a supervolcano. The entire park is the depression of a caldera more than twice the size of Oahu that is the result of an unimaginably large eruption some 600,000 years ago.


    By comparison, the caldera left by the explosion of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 is about the size of downtown Honolulu.


    Saint Helens ejected 1.4 billion cubic years of ash that was detectable over an area of 22,000 square miles.


    The last Yellowstone eruption, which was not even the largest in Yellowstone's history, ejected 2,500 times the ash of the Saint Helens explosion.


    Should we be alarmed by this uptick in activity?


    Scientists studying Yellowstone from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Utah and National Park Service at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory say that recurrences of cataclysmic eruptions are not regular or predictable.


    A supervolcano eruption at sometime in the future is inevitable with 100 percent probability. Eight supervolcano eruptions are known from the geologic record and there may be even more.


    Although nothing, including the recent earthquake swarm, points conclusively to an imminent eruption, the researchers note that Yellowstone erupts about every 600,000 years.


    Geologists continuously monitor the inflation and deflation of the Yellowstone Plateau, which indicates pressure changes in the magma chamber that lies as close as 5 miles below the surface in some places.


    The elevation of the caldera is 35 inches higher than when measurement began in 1923, and it has been moving upward since mid-2004 at a rate of up to three inches a year - more than three times faster than has ever been measured previously.


    An explosion matching the last Yellowstone eruption, which released 60 million times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb, would most certainly result in millions or even billions of deaths worldwide, both directly and indirectly.


    One study predicts that half the U.S. could be covered in ash up to 3 feet deep. Earth could experience a "volcanic winter" with ash in the atmosphere keeping sunlight from reaching Earth's surface for several years.


    The largest supervolcano eruption within the last 25 million years occurred at Lake Toba in Sumatra 73,000 years ago. The energy released was at least 15 percent greater than Yellowstone and 20,000 times greater than the largest human-made nuclear explosion.


    It plunged the Earth into a volcanic winter, and might have eradicated 60 percent of the human population, leaving as few as a thousand breeding pairs to propagate our species.


    We cannot predict, prevent or prepare for such cataclysms, but we must be humbled by the knowledge that such events have been and will continue to be an important part of the history of our planet on geological time scales.


    Without them we would most likely not be here at all, and they might someday render us extinct like the dinosaurs.



    Richard Brill is a professor of science at Honolulu Community College. E-mail questions and comments to rickb@hcc.hawaii.edu.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    A whole lot of shakin' going on... at Yellowstone National Park, that is!

    Joseph Walther
    January 03, 2009


    Far be it from me to worry people. But, Yellowstone National Park has hosted a lot of earthquakes since December 26, 2008. Seismologists have estimated the number as "several hundred."

    And according to the University of Utah Seismic Stations, the place hosted three more this past Friday, all registering between 3.0 and 3.5 magnitude on the ever-familiar Richter scale.

    A magnitude 3.0 to 3.5 earthquake is nothing to get too worked up over because there is usually minimal, if any, damage. In fact, according to the research I´ve done, multiple quakes—earthquake swarms as seismologists call them—are not unusual for Yellowstone.

    What is unusual, though, is an occurrence frequency over such an extended number of days. And, even this, alone, is nothing that should cause people´s palms to begin sweating. But, there´s more!

    While three states (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) host parts of the park, it lies mostly in northwestern Wyoming. It is also the caldera of a volcano. This volcano last erupted about 70,000 years ago.

    Is the thing getting ready to blow again? Are the earthquakes one of nature´s ways of saying "Get out of there, dummies?" Hmm! According to the report I´ve read, "Scientists have not concluded what is causing the earthquakes."

    I´ve spent several decades studying, observing, and hypothesizing in the world of physical science. I can tell you with conclusive scientific authority that legitimate scientists know exactly what causes earthquakes.

    However, since several factors cause the dominoes to begin falling, scientists cannot tell, at least not preliminarily, whether specific impending volcanic activity is causing the YELLOWSTONE earthquakes.

    On the other hand, if you happen to be sitting atop a volcanic caldera, volcanic activity certainly must be considered a suspect of "interest." Plus, there´s still more when it comes to Yellowstone!

    Two terms define the place: hotspot and super volcano. While they are related, they do not mean the same thing. The relationship is critical, however, relative to understanding certain things about the park.

    A hotspot is the producing end of a channel in Earth´s crust called a mantle plume. Magma rises many miles (a hundred or so) through that channel. At times, the hot magma actually melts the topping crust and forms a smaller magma chamber inside the larger one.

    The chamber beneath Yellowstone is located just a few miles below the surface. Some of the melted granite traps enough gas to build significant pressure.

    Sometimes the pressure builds sufficiently to force out an explosive burp of gas, molten rock, and other toxic materials into our environment. It is just a little burp sometimes. At other times, though, it´s a BIG burp.

    Mount St. Helens was an example of a BIG burp. There have been others, but this one was significant and happened here, in this country, during our lifetimes. Recall, if you can, the damage that IT caused.

    Big or small, though, the negative results of these burps range anywhere from scary to major local/regional property destruction and loss of life.

    On the positive side of the matter is the fact that such burps, most of the time, sufficiently lower pressure buildup. Mind you, the process never PREVENTS major eruptions, but they do postpone them for periods ranging from a few months to several years.

    Regardless, the process is repetitive, occurring cyclically until a point where too little pressure releases and a super blow occurs; scientists call these super volcanoes.

    These babies hit around an 8.0 or higher magnitude. We´re talking about hundreds of billions of tons—perhaps a trillion or more—of volcanic ash filling a minimum of 75-to 125-cubic miles of our environment over a period of several days.

    You don´t want to be in the vicinity when one of these goes off. They (the volcanic eruptions) bury everything within a radius of about 40-miles of ground zero in hundreds—if not a thousand or so—feet of hot volcanic ash.



    And, for the record, volcanic ash is nothing more than super-fine particles of glass. They affect our lungs in much the same way as super-fine asbestos particles do.

    However, inhaling large volumes of super-fine glass particles quickly, simply causes us to die sooner… like within about 5-minutes of inhalation, but we´ll die with greater suffocating horror and excruciating pain!

    If a super volcanic eruption happened in Yellowstone, we´d lose around 35% of the nation´s prime farmland for decades because of the volcanic ash and myriad toxins floating around and falling to the ground.

    Consider that just a single, run-of-the-mill volcanic eruption spews greater volumes of toxic emissions into Earth´s atmosphere in 15-minutes than has the whole of humanity since its beginning.

    Imagine, if you can, the impact and long-term damage to the global environment from a super eruption.

    Yes, hot spots are bad for our health. Super volcanoes, however, dwarf them in terms of their destructive power. In combination, these two forces are disasters in search of grid coordinates. Lucky us! Yellowstone qualifies on both accounts.

    Added to the litany of things to think about is the fact that super volcanic eruptions have occurred here before. Of course, it wasn´t called Yellowstone National Park back in those days. No taxes to pay for it!

    The last one blew around 630,000-years ago. The Republican Party had not yet formed and John McCain was just a baby. So, we can´t blame it on them.

    The one prior to that blew around 620,000 years earlier, long before the Democrats came on the scene. So, they´re off the hook, too. And, the earliest occurred about 700,000-years before this.

    Kidding aside, none of this means that we´re due for a big one, a little one, or even a modest one. But, doomsayers love to speculate on predictions of horror and write books on how to avoid it all.

    Additionally, MSNBC would report the speculation as news, blaming it all on the Conservatives. This would result in Fox News, the Sean Hannity Show, and Rush Limbaugh rebutting everything as Liberal hype.

    Bill O'Reilly, as usual, would declare the entire matter a cultural and moral insult and cut to Dennis Miller for HIS comedic cerebral take on it.

    But, the bottom line is that the people, who actually understand the science, put the odds of occurrence somewhere around "not likely right now." And, even if the odds are considerably higher, there is no reason to obsess over it.

    Mother Nature runs things. Even if you avidly believe that God is running the whole show, you have to admit that He seems to turn a lot of this stuff over to her and she does not feel compelled to consult with us mortals about such things.

    No responsible scientist is warning people to avoid Yellowstone National Park. Even so, I´d still bet the farm on the fact that there is going to be another super volcanic eruption.

    As optimistic as I am, and as much as most of us hate to admit, the question isn´t IF a big one happens, but rather WHEN it will happen.

    Regardless of where an "expert" falls on the outlook scale, the odds of a super blow over the next 50-years are not worth talking about. Luckily, I´ll be long gone by then. On the other hand, if you´re a teenager…

    But hey, enough of this worrywart stuff. Dying is not, after all, the worst thing that can happen to people—at least not from my perspective.

    With the way Wall Street executives, automobile industry executives, and our political leaders have screwed things up, a super volcanic eruption could be just the ticket to square things!

    Now, relax and go to sleep. Stop worrying!
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Op-Ed Contributor
    Earthquake activity seen worldwide!

    By Ian Brockwell

    Is the increased earthquake activity just a coincidence?


    http://newsblaze.com/story/200901040.../topstory.html

    Although earthquakes happen everyday at some point on the planet, the seismic activity in the last 24 hours has been very high.


    In Pakistan late Saturday (local time) a 5.9 magnitude quake was felt and others have appeared in Russia, Japan and Argentina.


    There was even a small 2.4 magnitude earthquake near Dillsburg, York County, Pennsylvania, and of course a large number have been seen at Yellowstone Park, the site of a supervolcano. Oddly enough, at the time of writing, the reports on seismic activity at Yellowstone have not been updated, even though quakes higher than magnitude 3.0 have occurred since the last entry. This might be due to staff availability over the weekend, or someone does not want the figures to be shown for some reason. Click Here to read my article on the recent quake activity at Yellowstone.


    However, the largest earthquakes have happened more recently, near the North coast of Papua, Indonesia, with two quakes registering 7.6 and 7.5 on the Richter scale. A number of strong aftershocks followed.


    The Indonesian Meteorology and Seismology Agency issued a tsunami alert but it was revoked within an hour after it was determined the epicenter was on land.


    Apart from cut power lines and some damage to buildings, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries.


    Indonesia is well known for earthquakes and volcanoes, and falls inside the Pacific "Ring of Fire". A huge earthquake off western Indonesia caused the 2004 Asian tsunami that killed around 230,000 people.


    Many are keeping a close eye on Yellowstone at the moment, even though the quakes there have not been that large. However, the location of the tremors is more worrying and there are fears that an eruption might be possible. The eruption of a supervolcano can affect the entire planet (depending on the size and duration). When such an eruption occurred at Lake Toba (Indonesia) about 75,000 years ago, the Earth was plunged into a volcanic winter, eradicating an estimated 60% of the human population.


    The recent increase in earthquake activity may be a coincidence, but it makes you wonder whether something much worse is heading our way.


    Ian Brockwell writes straight talking, honest stories that engage readers. Contact Ian through NewsBlaze or his News Page.



    To comment on this story, email to comment@newsblaze.com
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Small Earthquakes Rattle Yellowstone and Its Volcano


    http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/...s-Volcano.html

    December 30, 2008 01:55 PM
    by Emily Coakley


    A recent series of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park has renewed concerns about what a giant volcano under the park has in store.


    Gerry Broome/AP
    The Yellowstone River plunges over
    Lower Falls into the Grand Canyon of

    Yellowstone.





    Scientists Watching Earthquakes Closely

    Some scientists are speculating that a cluster of more than 200 small earthquakes felt in Yellowstone National Park over the weekend may lead up to something larger, reports LiveScience.

    As the national park is actually sitting on what’s been called a “super volcano,” some worry what the larger event could be.

    The earthquakes have all measured less than 4.0 on the Richter scale, and haven’t caused any damage. People in the Yellowstone area probably didn’t even feel most of the tremors, LiveScience said. But in aggregate, they could carry great significance.

    “This is an active volcanic and tectonic area, and these are the kinds of things we have to pay attention to. We might be seeing something precursory,” said Robert Smith, a geophysics professor at the University of Utah, in an interview with the Associated Press.

    He added: “Could it develop into a bigger fault or something related to hydrothermal activity? We don’t know. That’s what we’re there to do, to monitor it for public safety.”

    The University of Utah runs the Yellowstone Seismic Network, which keeps an eye on activity throughout the national park.




    Background: Yellowstone’s “super volcano”

    Sources in this Story





    Yellowstone’s many attractions include geysers, such as Old Faithful, and hot springs. These are believed to be a result of the giant pool of magma that Yellowstone sits on, according to the United States Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory.

    Some call the enormous caldera, which measures approximately 28 by 47 miles, a “super volcano.” The UnMuseum explains that “super volcano” isn’t exactly a technical scientific term, but says it differs from a traditional volcano “in that there is often no mountain peak associated with it.”

    The lack of a peak or potential outlet for gas, heat and pressure building underground means that “the entire surface above the underground chamber, which can be many miles wide, is blown away by a titanic explosion that can be thousands of times more powerful than that of a regular volcano.”

    Volcanic eruptions can’t be predicted, and scientists wonder when Yellowstone will blow again. According to LiveScience, the caldera last blew up about 600,000 years ago.

    Projections suggest that such an eruption would be catastrophic to most of the United States, with half the country being “covered in ash up to 3 feet deep,” LiveScience says, adding, “But those same researchers say nothing suggests such an eruption is imminent. They point out, however, that Yellowstone seems to blow its top about every 600,000 years.”

    The Cascades Volcano Observatory calls the Yellowstone caldera “one of the largest and most active in the world.” The United States has other, smaller calderas throughout the west.

    Super volcanoes are also found in other parts of the world, according to the Discovery Channel. They include a 1,000-square-mile caldera in Bolivia, and Lake Toba in Indonesia, which the Discovery Channel describes as the world’s largest at 1,080 square miles.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    It has been fairly quiet since the 3rd. Though that was when there was what some people were calling definite harmonic tremors. Note the sine wave pattern around 1335 and around 1625:



    This was present on all seismos in the area...

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    I can't see the graph here at work. Seems like Firefox is blocking certain things for some reason and I can't figure out why.


    Any chance there are similar things we can compare, to say... Mt. Saint Helens?
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    I'll e-mail it to you...

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Awesome
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    This activity is troubling, something to definitely keep our eyes on.



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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Glossary/S...rminology.html

    Some definitions for you guys, in case you're not well-read on seismic activities.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Don't be all shook up over Yellowstone quakes
    Experts say the swarm of small temblors since Dec. 26 doesn't signal a possible major eruption at the park.

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/102/story/623427.html

    BY ROCKY BARKER - rbarker@idahostatesman.com
    Edition Date: 01/06/09

    When you have 400 earthquakes on top of one of the largest supervolcanoes on Earth, people pay attention.

    And since the day after Christmas, that's what has happened at Yellowstone National Park. Scientists are seeing what they call a "swarm" of low intensity earthquakes - the largest since the 1980s. The biggest quake had a magnitude of 3.9, below the level that can cause damage.

    But the earthquakes have made worldwide news because the park lies on a giant caldera, the crater of a volcano that scientists say could one day explode and destroy most of North America and freeze the rest of the world under a shroud of ash for up to two years.

    Still, the latest earthquakes are nothing to fear, said park geologist Hank Heasler.

    Heasler and his colleagues at the University of Utah and the U.S. Geological Survey spent several hours Friday on a conference call comparing notes and sharing their views on the latest geological event atop the largest known volcano in the world.

    Yellowstone has several thousand tiny earthquakes a year but this recent swarm is unusual - and geologically speaking, maybe even timely.

    The last time Yellowstone erupted 640,000 years ago it spewed 8,000 times the ash and lava that came from Mount St. Helens in 1980. The past two explosive eruptions have come at 600,000-year intervals, so some geologists say the next one is overdue. But there have been 30 relatively minor eruptions since then.

    "Looking at the data, currently we don't see any indication of volcanic activity," Heasler said.

    Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security officials have been monitoring the earthquakes and talking to federal scientists about the swarm, but they aren't alarmed.

    "We are keeping close tabs on what's happening," said Lt. Col. Tim Marsano, the agency's spokesman.

    Most of the recent earthquakes have centered around Yellowstone Lake, an especially hot and active geothermal region. Five miles below the lake lies a giant magma chamber, which scientists say has bulged upward about 60 feet over the last 50 years.

    But the latest earthquakes have not changed things noticeably, Heasler said.

    "Scientists don't currently see any indication of uplift," Heasler said. "We're not seeing a bulge at this time."

    Based on the observations of Heasler and his colleagues, authorities have kept Yellowstone's volcanic alert level at green, which means they aren't worried yet. The earthquakes hadn't stopped as of Monday.

    Yellowstone's volcano sits atop a "hot spot" of molten rock that rises from deep within the Earth. For more than 17 million years, the North American Plate has moved west-southwest over this largely stationary spot, causing volcanic eruptions, including those that formed the Eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho.

    Scientists aren't sure what the connection is between earthquake clusters like this and the volcanic activity responsible for Yellowstone's signature features, such as Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs and many of the mud pots and geysers that most visitors associate with the park.

    And though the chances of a major eruption at Yellowstone make the headlines, scientists expect the next volcanic eruptions in the park to be non-explosive lava flows. Though these would still be destructive, they likely would be limited to the park and perhaps surrounding areas.

    The last earthquake swarm in Yellowstone came in 1985. It lasted several months and the biggest earthquake was magnitude 4.5, Heasler said. So Yellowstone may be due for some modest action before this one is over.

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