"The good news is, if this sucker blows, global warming is not going to be a problem. "

Some worrisome news from Greg Laden’s Science blog, also in the running for Best Science Blog

Note: Image below was not part of the original story

This images indicates Yellowstone earthquake from the past week. One of the most intense siesmic "swarms" in the national park's history has been shaking the north end of Yellowstone Lake. Since Dec. 26, 900 quakes, 111 measuring magnitude 2.0 to 3.9, have been recorded. Image by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismic Activity at Yellowstone by Greg Laden

You have already heard that there has been increased seismic activity at Yellowstone National Park over the last few days. Since December 26th, there have been several earthquakes a day, some jut over 3.0 magnitude, in the vicinity of the north side of Yellowstone’s lake. This is a seismically active region, but the level of earthquake activity being seen now is much greater than seen in perhaps decades (though the data are still not sufficiently analyzed to make positive comparisons yet).Volcano experts have absolutely no clue as to what this means. A major reason for virtually total uncertainty is that Yellowstone sits on top of a very large caldera of the type that is formed by a so-called “super volcano” and the last super volcano to erupt was a few years (like, 70 or so thousand years) before any seismic or other geological monitoring station were set up anywhere. Indeed, the first really serious data collection at Yellowstone began just over 30 years ago.

Anyway, I’ve got a few resources for you in case you want to explore this further. To begin with, I recommend a look at my earlier post on this matter:

The Yellowstone Problem

As you have surely heard, the Yellowstone Caldera … the place where Old Faithful and the Geyser Basin reside … has been undergoing increased “activity” including some earthquakes and a rising up of the land. Is this a big problem? Should the evacuate? Should those of us living only a few states away start wearing earplugs?

My sister, Elizabeth, publishes a newspaper in the vicinity of Yellowstone and they’ve got a very comprehensive piece on he caldera. In fact, my sister’s nickname is Caldera Girl. So she really knows her Calderas.

Tracking Changes in Yellowstone’s Restless Volcanic System

…Since the 1970s, scientists have tracked rapid uplift and subsidence of the ground and significant changes in hydrothermal features and earthquake activity. In 2001, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory was created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Utah, and Yellowstone National Park to strengthen scientists’ ability to track activity that could result in hazardous seismic, hydrothermal, or volcanic events in the region…

Finally, we’ve got this somewhat hokey but still fun to watch movie of how we are all totally doomed (h/t Caldera Girl).

The good news is, if this sucker blows, global warming is not going to be a problem.

I am personally keeping close watch on the seismic activity in the area and if I see anything ominous I’ll let you know. As soon as I finish packing and driving about 2,000 miles to the south of here.

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VG

looks like NCEP has suddenly lost interest in comparing past snow cover LOL
http://moe.met.fsu.edu/snow/

Perry Debell

More information is also available at http://www.seablogger.com/?cat=22
Chaiten volcano also seems hot to trot. Is it just me or are there more volcanoes kicking off around the globe than is usual? Leif might like to comment?
The year without a summer.
“It is now generally thought that the aberrations occurred because of the 5 April – 15 April, 1815 volcanic eruptions of Mount Tambora,[7][8] the world’s largest eruption in at least 1,600 years (Lake Taupo’s Hatepe eruption of c. 180 AD was probably of similar size, see Supervolcano), on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia (then, part of the Dutch East Indies), which ejected immense amounts of volcanic dust into the upper atmosphere. The fact that the eruptions occurred during the middle of the Dalton Minimum (a period of unusually low solar activity) is also significant.
Other volcanoes were active during the same time frame:
* La Soufrière on Saint Vincent in the Caribbean in 1812
* Mayon in the Philippines in 1814
These other eruptions had already built up a substantial amount of atmospheric dust. As is common following a massive volcanic eruption, temperatures fell worldwide because less sunlight passed through the atmosphere.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer
The Supervolcano mentioned as erupting around 70,000 years ago is probably Mt Toba, which is considered by some to have nearly wiped out all alternative forms or species of human life.
http://www.jqjacobs.net/anthro/paleo/bottleneck.html
http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/originals/Weber-Toba/textr.htm
Homo sapiens sapiens proposes, Gaia disposes. (If you believe in the Gaia idea, which I don’t.)
Regards,
Perry

Ron de Haan

Detailed information and daily reports on Yellowstone:
1. Alan Sullivan, Fresh Bilge, http://www.seablogger.com
2. Ralph Harrington’s Volcanism Blog: http://volcanism.wordpress.com/?s=yellowstone&searchbutton=go!
3. Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions: http://eruptions.wordpress.com/

Brian Johnson

All the Yellowstone predictions and now this from the BBC just to add to the media frenzy!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7817684.stm
James Morgan [BBC Science “reporter”] should have put the last line of his report, first!

tallbloke

Full moon at perigee is tomorrow. It’s second closest approach to earth this year. Added to which, it’s not far below the maximum declination it reaches in it’s eighteen year cycle, which will bring it about as close as it gets to being overhead at Yellowstone. Added to which earth is only a few weeks past perihelion, it’s closest approach to the sun. To top it off, there is a detectable correlation between large volcanic events and low sunspot numbers
So it’s not surprising that all the gravitational push-me-pull you and electromagnetic wierdness is causing some extra activity. Whether she’ll blow is anyones guess though. Let’s hope not.
On July 21st there will be an even closer perigee (357464 km) – and new moon will be only 6 hours from it. New moon when the moon is between the earth and sun, creating an even more unbalanced extra gravitational tug on the earth’s crust. Fortunately, we will be near our furthest from the sun at that time of year.
Fingers crossed.

Lars Kamél

If the Yellowstone super volcano erupts, it will really mean the end of civilization as we know it. No more worries about climate change, economic crisis, terrorism or something less fundamental than simply trying to survive. Oh, no! Now, I have become a doomsday prophet, too! But the geological data are rather clear. A super volcano eruption 70000 years ago in South East Asia almost made the human species extinct. Previous eruptions of the Yellowstone super volcano have covered large parts of North America with thick layers of ash. A large eruption by a normal volcano could make the world about one degree colder. What would a super volcano eruption do?

Wow, I am reading additional articles about the Yellowstone supervolcano, e.g.
http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/region/northamerica/090108-yellowstone-volcano
http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&q=yellowstone+supervolcano
A 325 miles radius circle around the park to be possibly evacuated? That’s pretty impressive. Are the housing prices around the park dropping?
The eruption would save a few trillion dollars for cooling the Earth (for 0.3 °C or so, more than all the carbon emission cuts until 2050), according to the carbon “market” prices, but that would probably not be the biggest effect of such an eruption.

Radun

Is there any correlation between Solar minima and earthquake activity?
Any supporting data or views ?

old construction worker

‘I am personally keeping close watch on the seismic activity in the area and if I see anything ominous I’ll let you know. As soon as I finish packing and driving about 2,000 miles to the south of here.’
Hmmmm………that would put in southern Mexico.
Or Hawaii, It could become our national capital.

I have a lot of personal videos of the Yellowstone Geisers from this summer.
It could be possible to compare with others from the previous years?
Someone have more from 2007 or before?
Some of them are at: (in spanish, sorry)
http://descubriendolanaturaleza.blogspot.com/2008_08_01_archive.html
Yellowstone’s geisers change his activity, and it’s normal, but if all of them increase his size or frecuency, could be a signal of the proximity of a “global catastrophe”

KimW

A “Supervolcano” eruption is usually classed as a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8 and the last known one was a bit nearer than 70 000 years ago. Lake Taupo in New Zealand erupted 26,500 years ago producing 300 km³ of ignimbrite, 500 km³ of pumice and ash fall and a unknown volume of material inside the caldera – over 1000 cubic km in all. The eruption is thought to have formed the caldera now filled by Lake Taupo. The most recent eruption of Taupo was AD 186 but this was only a VEI of 7 – only about 150 cubic km of ash was erupted. The 186AD date is from Roman and Chinese observers noting red skies – quite good for an eruption on the other side of the world.

klausb
King of Cool

Theory has it that the earth was hit by a another planet which as well as tilting the axis giving us seasons also formed the moon from the debris. The collision also melted everything so that now we have a solid high temperature inner core, a molten mantle and a very thin cool crust from which the continents formed. In the cracks of this thin crust the mantle regularly spills out through volcano vent holes and rifts, many of which are under the ocean.
The temperature is so hot inside the earth that if we drill down just 7.5 miles the temperature will reach over 400 deg F.
But unlike the sun which is generating heat from nuclear fission which seems to be thermostatically controlled (although this may oscillate up and down around the power that has been set by a higher force), like a hot potato when you take it out of the oven, the earth is cooling. Our solar system is also subjected to other random events that are happening in the universe in which we are hurtling along with billions of other stars at 250 km/sec.
However, the luminosity of the Sun will increase by 40% over the next 3.5 billion years. In 900 million years or so we will have lost all plant life, the oceans will have dried up and the earth will be uninhabitable. Even if the sun was to last forever, the earth would be uninhabitable in 500 million years as the cooling mantle would cause the loss of most of the atmosphere and oceans.
In the meantime we have to survive super-volcanic eruptions, giant asteroid collisions, gamma ray bursts from space, mega-tsunamis, famines, global pandemics, anthropogenic warring (not a spelling error), overpopulation, climate change and thousands of Hollywood disaster movies.
And Al Gore is worried about CO2 !!! I think we should start looking for another planet – now.

If Yellowstone were to erupt, everyone would be praying for global warming. Believe me.

MattN

You think the economy is bad now…..

Jared

Bible codes predicting the future are often wrong, but there is a Bible code that predicts Yellowstone will erupt in 2010.

Mark

Yikes…

Leon Brozyna

I don’t doubt that if a “super volcano” erupts anywhere in the world we’ll be told that it’s masking AGW.
But then, after a couple of years without a summer, I would imagine we’d all be more concerned about global famines than any imaginery dangers from global warming.

realitycheck

Lets be clear here – this is a not a piddly little Mount St. Helens – this is a SUPERvolcano. When the Lake Toba Supervolcano blew in Sumatra roughly 70 thousand years ago – there were layers of ash 600 meters thick deposited in Sumatra and up to 6 inches thick across the whole of India and in South Africa. From the geologic record they also know that global temperatures dropped by about 3 to 3.5 degrees Celsius for up to a century following the event and it likely led to a planet-wide die off. There is some evidence to suggest that the human lineage were almost wiped out by this event.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory
If Yellowstone (comparable in size to the Lake Toba caldera) is really going to blow – you’d need to evacuate North America -not the States around it…
Worried? – Sure, but tomorrow I could be hit by a bus. In the meantime, have a beer, sit back and laugh at Al Gore – you’d be surprised how much stress it will relieve.

Anthony,
I am not sure where 70,000 years comes from – the last super volcano was about 75,000 years ago and I believe it was in Sumatra.
Yellowstone super volcano is suggested to erupt around every 600,000 to 650,000 years as I recall from a programme I watched and it last exploded … you guessed it ….around 650,000 years ago.
It is suggested that after the last super volcano only a few thousand humans survived which is why we all apparently look so alike.
I think from what I saw on the TV programme it would be an “Extinction Level Event” so let’s hope it is a very long time away.
REPLY: Not my writing, this is Greg Laden.

Very normal to see this during times of grand minima, and its all probably due to the change in the “torque” that the solar system is experiencing right now just as it has every other time of grand minima. See graph below.
http://users.beagle.com.au/geoffsharp/ssbtorque1740-2070.jpg

TitiXXXX1892

Reminded me of that story, which I think I found on WUWT at first
How to construct a world-wide panic
The essential elements of an effective global panic consist of two parts:
First, one needs to identify a potential source of a world-wide catastrophe. Second, one needs to convince everyone that that actions of man are about to trigger that catastrophe. This is best illustrated by this following theoretical example:
It is well known that a “Super Volcano” lies under Yellowstone park. This volcano went undetected for many years, because its sheer size is so large it escaped notice when looking for something more familiar in size.
The consequences of another eruption of this monster can be fairly well predicted. First, it will simply blow away a fair-sized piece of Montana, and falling ash will bury cities for many miles beyond. The atmospheric ejecta will blanket a large portion of the earth, blocking out the sun and producing a “nuclear winter” for a significant portion of mankind. Crop failures and other effects of rapid cooling will lead to the death of untold billions of both human and animal inhabitants.
In fact, there are some significant geothermal and other indicators in Yellowstone that suggest this monster is again on the move. This has sparked at least one major television presentation discussing the potential for another eruption and the obvious catastrophe that would follow if it does. But this information in itself has not created much in the way of panic. Most citizens are resigned to the fact that mega-disasters, should they occur, can not be prevented by human action because they are part of the natural behavior of the planet and worrying excessively can not change anything. Don’t worry, be happy, we’re all in this together.
To turn the Yellowstone Super Volcano into a world-wide panic, we need a convincing piece of junk science as a trigger. Taking our cue from the “man-made CO2 is causing global warming” hoax, here’s one distinct possibility as far as Yellowstone is concerned:
Professor Wilfred Brimstone at the University of Mongolia has developed a model which clearly shows the buildup of human population on both the east and west coast of the United States is putting excessive pressure on both sides of the North American plate. The accumulation of vast amounts of additional weight in the form of people, buildings, automobiles, and other man-made items is creating such an excess of plate pressure at the edges, that magma is being forced laterally toward the center of the country, and in particular towards a weak crust zone in Montana centered at Yellowstone park. In the same manner as popping a pimple by squeezing from two opposing sides, the “coastal weight effect” is squeezing the magma beneath the crust and causing a rapid pressure buildup of the Yellowstone Super Volcano. Man’s greed to live near the ocean has tipped the balance of nature, and it is now only a matter of time until Yellowstone blows its top.
….. unless we take quick action to arrest and reverse this process.
It is critically important to immediately evacuate everyone from both coasts, and dismantle all heavy structures and begin transporting them to the center of the country, redistributing them evenly over a wide area until the overall plate pressure has been suitably equalized and the danger has passed. Senator Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill which will impose a stiff tax on any item weighing more than six ounces in order to pay for the weight relocation. A new $100 million Center for Building Weight Studies is currently under construction in Santa Barbara.
If you do not want to be dislocated from your present home, former Vice President Al Gore has just formed a new company, Relocation Unlimited, in which you can invest in “weight offsets” and not have to move. For a price, Mr. Gore will arrange have an equivalent weight of ordinary dirt dug up and relocated instead of your own 3 bedroom ranch.
It is also of immediate importance that we educate our children in the nature of this pending disaster that their parents’ over-building has created. Children everywhere should quickly make costumes that resemble blocks of concrete and conduct ritualistic marches in the general direction of the central Midwest. This, combined with the waving of signs and the singing of Kumbaya will quickly spread the word throughout the public school system and draw the attention of the mainstream media which is also critical to this effort. Working together, we can all stem this rapidly looming disaster.
incidentally, you can purchase your STOP YELLOWSTONE NOW t-shirts by visiting our online store, and our book by the same name is available on Amazon.com. A prime time television special is currently in production.

Philip_B

I’d worry more about Chaiten which continues to erupt and may well produce a cataclysmic Krakatoa sized eruption.

Mark N

Just finished reading Alston Chase’s book “Playing God in Yellowsrone” which was a fascinating look at the history of Yellowstone and the environemtnal movement. Geologist were one of the few allowed in when they started monitoring this activity. Surprisingly, keeping out the biologists.
I hope it doesnt blow yet!

Dan Lee

Hmm, I live 2000+ miles Southeast of there (South Florida) and I don’t feel much better about it. A super-volcano in Yellowstone would still kill me & mine, but slowly, e.g. by starvation or any of the other consequences of such a rapid destruction of the global ecosystem. This would send us all back to the stone age.

Luis Dias

30 years of monitorization and already we are witnessing the signs of a super-bang that only happens once every 50/100 thousand years?
What’s next? Gonna call the recent earthquake activity “unprecedented” and somehow glue it to a human behaviour?
Pfff, chill. You people are suffering from over-consciousness to the chaotic world we’re living in.

Armin

I just happened to been there just between December 26th and January 2nd. When I took the snowmobile to Yellowstone Lake the ranger station (read: warming hut 🙂 ) they had this picture also printed out. Other than that It shows that most of the shocks are from under the lake. See also the dots. There is already longer suspicion that something is out there (and it ain’t Ness borther 🙂 ).
Still no worries according to the experts. There is not enough magma (yet) to cause a new supervulcano.

hotrod

The Yellowstone super volcano would totally re-define the term major disaster if it decided to blow in modern times. It would certainly test the hypothesis of global cooling due to volcanic ass injection into the atmosphere.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huckleberry_Ridge_Tuff
The Ash Fall fossil bed site in Nebraska tells the tale of an earlier eruption from that hot spot some 12 million years ago, that dumped volcanic ash feet deep in Nebraska.
http://ashfall.unl.edu/ashfallstory.html
There have been a couple of similar episodes, in Yellowstone. Uplift was noticed in the north end of the lake some years back when they realized the shore line was changing in odd ways that were best explained by the whole lake basin tilting.
There was also a ground bulge scare in California. The Mammoth lakes region near the old Long Valley Caldera, also experienced ground inflation. That volcano has a very similar eruption history to Yellowstone.
The so called Palmdale bulge appeared about the same time period, but it was believed due to stress building up for a potential release of a major earth quake.
http://www.fieldwerks.com/yellowstone_lake.htm
http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-172706
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,914086,00.html
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEEDE163AF936A35751C1A96F948260
Larry

papertiger

Na, you are thinking of a Stromboli type volcano, with a firehose nozzle ready to squeeze out the lava and pyroclastic whatnot in a spectacular fountain.
That’s not the way Yellowstone operates.
Yellowstone’s caldera covers 1500 square miles. It might burb. You ever see a kettle of sourmash fermenting with the slow motion bubbles rising to the surface? Burb …. burp …. burp. – Like that but with 800,000 years between burps – that’s what Yellowstone will do if it erupts.
All the rest of it, “2500 times bigger then mount St Helens”, ” covering North America in 3 feet of ash” that stuff is just sweeps week packaging for the weather channel. Geologists doing a “booga, booga” at the public.
I’m not afraid of no Yellowstone Boogerman.
But if Mount Shasta starts having tremmors, then I’ll join you down in Cabo San Lucas for margaritas.

hotrod

typo correction should read — volcanic ash injection into the atmosphere.
Ooops
Larry

Bill Illis

You can see 5 old yellowstone-hotspot calderas in this satellite picture.
The one on the bottom left, “the craters of the moon” caldera formed 11 million years ago. There are three more outside of this pic extending almost to California going back another 4 million years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SnakeRiver.jpg

Pearland Aggie

I guess this is a new sunspot that will end the spotless streak…looks fairly legit.
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/mdi_igr/1024/latest.html

JimB

The “Tracking Changes….” link is subscription only.
JimB

ClioSmith

This is an interesting post. A large event like this (God forbid it should actually happen) would raise a plausible “escape hatch” for AGW alarmist scientists who may need cover for a failed hypothesis. I was impressed by Sharon Begley’s article in the Jan. 3 Newsweek, which discusses the extreme reluctance of scientists to change their minds, or to admit changing their minds.
I’ve been miffed at Begley since her propaganda piece last spring about “The Denial Machine.” Now I wonder if she isn’t doing a lot of thinking about climb-down strategies for AGW alarmists. See http://www.newsweek.com/id/177740

terry46

Off topic but Nasa has A news story about how solar activity doosday possible in our future.Isn’t it ironic that now with the sun being blank for the 2nd most days every recorded in A year we now hear of possible solar problems.You know they were saying the very same thing about sun cycle 24 and look it still blank.I’ll guarantee Hathaway is involved in this story somewhere.

Jon

You really think 2000 miles will matter? Ok, so you will have sun for a few extra weeks, but that thing goes massively and ‘nuclear winter’ like effect for the planet will likely happen for years.

Jim Powell

I have been watching and looking into different aspects of this earthquake swarm since it began. http://www.bnhclub.org/forums/showthread.php?t=506 I have lots of questions. Is the Lake Hotel Fault the same as the Outlet Graben? Could increased heat account for the increased flow out of Yellowstone Lake? Or would increased flow from underwater geysers be such a minuscule amount of increased heat that it wouldn’t make any difference?

Paul

I am sorry to report I don’t see the link or video that you refer to as Hokey but fun to watch.

If Yellowstone blows, at least one human will survive to carry on: click
It’s Friday… time to take a few seconds and cast another vote: click

Austin

From NWS FTW:
WE ARE IN STORE FOR A BIG CHANGE LATTER HALF OF NEXT WEEK AS A BROAD
TROUGH OVER MUCH OF NOAM SENDS COLD ARCTIC AIR DOWN INTO THE REGION.
RELIABLE COMPUTER MODELS ARE STILL HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME
DETERMINING JUST HOW COLD IT WILL BE. THE AIR MASS ORIGINATES IN
NORTHERN AND EASTERN ALASKA WHERE DAYTIME TEMPS HAVE BEEN MINUS 20
TO MINUS 45+ DEGREES. GIVEN THAT WE ARE NOW IN THE DEAD OF
WINTER…STRENGTH OF A RIDGE BUILDING OFF THE WEST COAST…A
MCFARLAND PATTERN SETUP NORMALLY RESULTS IN SOME OF THE COLDEST
TEMPERATURES OF WINTER…

Will a new tax make it quiet down?

Tim C

Yes that looks like a sunspot, moreover the region in question yesterday is showing signs too.

jmrSudbury

I checked 3 browsers. Paul is correct. The video does not seem to be there. The original link from the html page source was:

John M Reynolds

Bill in Vigo

Hello Austin, We are getting the same forecast for NE Alabama for the cold next week.
About Yellowstone. If that thing goes There will be no worry about warming. Just where the next meal will come from. With food supplies costing more and more on an almost daily basis now I wonder how bad it will be if most of the arable land in the northern hemisphere is covered in ash (which later will become fertile land) and nuclear winter for 5+years. I suspect that there will be some survivors and that they will be scattered around the globe. It would suit me just fine if the explosion were put off for a few hundred years. I just don’t want to witness it. There is certainly nothing we can do about it.
Wait didn’t we do this once before for Y2K?!!!!!!
Bill Derryberry

Jeff Alberts

Heh, if this blows it will be like winter in Seattle year-round, everywhere.

BGOOD~WYOMING

We live 200 miles from Yellowstone and our ask beds are 20 feet thick i dought that any thing lived through that!!!

BGOOD~WYOMING

lol ash beds !!

paminator

TitiXXXX1892 (03:53:15)-
Absolutely hilarious!!!!!! Bravo!

Charlie Iliff

Problem solved. In a newly-signed contract ($3 billion) between the U.S. Government and BM Energy, Inc., the thermal energy under Yellowstone will be concerted to electricity without any CO2 emissions. Models by scientists at BM show that the atmosphere will be cooled by .01 degrees F and Ohio will receive free electricity forever. Bernard Madoff is heading the new energy company.