Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Did you know that at any second the world could be ushered into an ice age? Surprising? Scary? A little dramatic? Probably. Let's take our first trip. We're going to Yellowstone National Park which is mainly located in the state of Wyoming. To most Yellowstone conjures images similar to the picture above.
However, become a seismologist or a volcanologist and Yellowstone will probably look more like this...
What the hell is that, your probably wondering to yourself if you've not yet seen the movie 2012. That, my friends, is called a Caldera, or a super volcano. Yellowstone's volcano is by no means the only or even the largest caldera in existence by any means (however, still large and menacing enough) but I find it the most interesting.
This volcano is about 34 miles by 45 miles (these figures vary). In comparison, the crater on Mount St. Helens is only about one mile in diameter. The only reason Yellowstone has it's beloved geysers is because of this big fellow sitting beneath it. So now your probably asking...who gives a damn. Well, you should.
Every year, 1,000-3,000 earthquakes occur in Yellowstone, most of them being very mild and of little or no consequence to go along with that the floor of Yellowstone Lake continues to expand upwards. Your probably saying at the moment, ok so what happens if it erupts?
There is evidence of this volcano last erupting about 600,000 years ago destroying much if not all of the life in the surrounding area. Due to the pattern in which this volcano erupts scientists predict we are long overdue for an eruption "any time now." The force of this volcano would devastate the surrounding area and, if not evacuated beforehand, kill thousands of people...and that's just the immediate eruption. Ash would most likely coat the entire U.S. and effectively block out the sun for a long time causing plant and animal life to die and starving most of the world population and causing the temperature to drop several degrees ushering in what would be the equivalent to a nuclear ice age. However, scientists say the likelihood of it erupting in our lifetime is "extremely minimal." But that is only the short of it people...do some research yourself, there's tons of information out there. But just remember the next time you go to Yellowstone and are taking in the trees and wildlife that a gigantic pool of hot lava flows under your feet just ready to burst at anytime and if you see any little dead critters who look a little strange you might want to think of running in the opposite direction...fast. Don't believe me, just watch Dante's Peak...