Friday, January 2, 2009

A literal shift in Yellowstone: The Caldera

No one in the USGS had held a press conference. The national news has not picked it up, except for a (business) blogger on US News and World Report.

If you just learned like I did about Supervolcanoes and what the heck they have to do with the recent tectonic activity inYellowstone, there might be a reason for you to pause to consider the information I am presenting here. Here's a snapshot I am copying and pasting from 7:52 PM Eastern Standard Time:

*There have been at least 300 recorded earthquakes in Yellowstone since December 27, 2008.*

*That's 300 earthquakes in ONE WEEK.*

(If you want to know an authoritative source on this geologic phenomena, check out the Discovery Channel's documentary on it).

I am not a scientist: my husband Tom is, and he tracks things like this. Even local geologists we know are shocked that this information has not made the national news. Check out the links on the seismographs taken as recently as today (just click on the date).

For example, here's an online copy of a seismograph taken from Pitchstone Plateau in Yellowstone from December 27:

Here's what the same seismograph looked like today:

And this is not even one of the really, really bad ones. If you want to be really freaked out, compare the one from Lake Yellowstone from December 25 to the one from today.

These are only a couple within thousands of miles of area that are experiencing seismic activity that starts with low harmonics (gradual building of pressure) interspersed with more major quakes as magma builds below the surface.

I'm not one for alarmism. Given there's a lot going on in the world today, volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park seems a bit fluffy. However, I don't think there's anything fluffy about this.

I am at a loss for words. Tom has been telling me about this for a couple of weeks now and frankly, I am shocked that it has not even made a crawler on any of the news networks-- even if it is nothing.

Here's hoping a once-in-a-600,000-year-event is not just days or weeks away.

Post Script 1/4/2009:

The tectonic activity in Yellowstone has been back to relatively normal levels for the past few days.


cmacivor January 2, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

Unreal.And I thought I was stressed by work today.

Arlene January 3, 2009 at 5:41 AM  

There was a film made about this that was shown in the UK, a docudrama. Don't know if they showed it in the US. Nature has a way of taking care of itself and it makes me realise how insignificant people really are in the scheme of things. When we are all gone, the planet may still be here, for awhile. Try not to fear the future and just get on with the job of living and do the best you can. A

Sidhe January 3, 2009 at 10:45 AM  


That is really all I can say.

willpen January 3, 2009 at 11:37 AM  

I had been seeing little snippets about this on the Huff Post but the connecting articles were usually just short reports.

I guess that unless a natural disaster is cataclysmic, they tend to take the back seat to man made cataclysms.

Interesting stuff.

Seeing Eye Chick January 5, 2009 at 2:16 PM  

The Govt doesnt like posting stuff like this because all the end of days people--whether they be New Age believers in Hopi Prophecies, or Mayan Calendars, or Apocalyptic Christians, or Pagans hoping for Ragnarok, they all go nuts over this crap and start consulting scriptures, astrological programs, stocking up on Ammo and Ramen Noodles, and who knows what else. Oh yea and it freaks people in Colorado out too.

This is huge news, and since this post, I have seen this covered on both CNN and MSNBC. I have added it to my geological folder. like your old man I watch this too. We have a couple supercalderas. Yellowstone and Mammoth lakes {which has also been a bit active. When you consider the volcanic like swarms off the West Coast W.State and Ore, and some in Nevada, it sort of starts to make sense on a larger scale. Whether that means things are about to get bad? Your guess is a good as mine. I hope not. If Yellowstone goes off, we will have a new great lake, and probably enter into the next ice age. It would make Pinatubo look like a fat mouse fart by comparison. Thanks but no thanks.

Stella,  January 12, 2009 at 5:48 AM  

Have you seen the data from yesterday and today from the Pitchstone Plateau? Looks scary. I haven't seen any news reports on the most recent quakes and I'm just a bit worried...

skyewriter January 12, 2009 at 12:52 PM  

Hi Stella,
Thanks for stopping by.

If you right click on the green link for seismic activity to open it in a new tab, the data from the most recent activity will be shown in colored graphs. I took a quick peek at today's activity at Pitchstone Plateau, and it looks like it's rumbling.

I am not a seismologist; however, the USGS (you can find it in a Google search) has some great information in addition to the University of Utah, who monitors the seismic equipment they have set up there.

I'm not exactly sure why this isn't getting much press. Scientists have never been able to monitor the tectonic activity at Yellowstone to such a degree until this past summer when hundreds more stations were installed.

My husband (a scientist but NOT a seismologist-- he works with a few) thinks that this type of activity might be "normal" it's just that they haven't been able to see it because of the low levels of monitoring equipment.

Stay safe and try not to listen to those hoax evacuation warnings I've been hearing about. My best suggestion would be to contact the USGS and get the news straight from the horse's mouth, as they say.

Thanks again for stopping by. Feel free to come back anytime.


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