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One Less Thing To Worry About?

Is the Yellowstone caldera fizzling out?

This adds to suggestions that the plume has disconnected from its heat source in the Earth's core. If this is true, it means the plume could be dying - and that the sequence of mega-eruptions could come to an end. "If it doesn't have clear source, as it rises eventually the plume will die out," says Schutt.

Let's hope so. A Yellowstone explosion could be a civilization-ending event, and there's not much we can do to prevent it, at least with current technology.


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Jason Bontrager wrote:

Unless this is a precursor to a mega-eruption. Kind of a "calm before the storm" thing.

Not sure what the mechanism would be, but it seems a little convenient that the Yellowstone caldera would stop blowing up at just the right epoch to avoid destroying human civilization (and possibly humanity).

Jonathan wrote:

Clearly, what we are seeing here is the Earth anticipating Obama's election. Expect to see a drop in sea level any day now, as well.

Don't bother to thank me for pointing out the obvious.

Craig wrote:

I blame Bush.

Adam Greenwood wrote:

I'm all for things being kind of convenient. Would God its true since our host is right that we can't do squat about it.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

My take is that it'll take a long time for the Yellowstone hot spot to cool off to the point where it no longer erupts, unless we help in some way, say with massive geothermal projects. The reason is that the hotspot is at least 16 million years old with a long history of declining eruptions. Further, it is still active even into historical times. The Yellowstone caldera itself hasn't erupted in the past 85k-90k years (the Pitchstone Plateau, an area in the southeast part of the park is the latest eruption).

But about 125 miles west southwest of the Yellowstone Caldara is the "Craters of the Moon", a series of basalt eruptions dating from around 15k years ago to 2k years ago. The current theory so I gather is that this is "residual" magma/heat from the Yellowstone hot spot. But it strikes me as being a lot of "residual" even for a large hotspot like Yellowstone.

Then we get to perhaps the most significant evidence for current activity, and that is the elevated height of Yellowstone and the surrounding area, the high level of earthquake activity, and the rising high of certain magma-supported bulges in Yellowstone Park. As I dimly recall the hot spot is pushing up by somewhere around a thousand feet, a roughly circular region at least 100 miles or so in diameter. Outside of California, the region within a few hundred miles of Yellowstone is the most active earthquake region in the lower 48. Most of these earthquakes are thought to be due to the hot spot plowing through the Rocky Mountains something like a ship moving through water. Finally, there are several areas (three if I recall) bulges where it is thought that magma is slowly filling and lifting. The main two are in the southern center of the park. A third is IIRC located towards the northwest corner and isn't so active.

memomachine wrote:


Is it just me or does anyone else hear the theme song for "The Love Boat" whenever listening to Obama talk?

Josh Reiter wrote:

Maybe it is a sign that the nuclear reactions in the Earth's core are burning out.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on August 11, 2008 10:05 AM.

Perseids was the previous entry in this blog.

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