Supervolcano 2.5

Supervolcano 2.5…  We’ve written about the supervolcano hiding under Yellowstone park…really the whole region several times but now a team of scientists from the University has discovered that the magma chamber under Yellowstone is 2.5x bigger than previous estimates.

They are describing the next Yellowstone eruption as a nation killer…not just a northwest central region killer.  Yellowstone erupts every 600,000 to 700,000 years and last erupted about 640,000 years ago…read more from the New York Post at Beneath Yellowstone, a volcano that could wipe out U.S.

Yellowstone Supervolcano Video

CNN recently ran a great video article on the  Yellowstone Supervolcano.  Watch the (under 7 minute) article if you have time but here are the highlights:

  • The Yellowstone area often experiences hundreds of earthquakes per day and thousands per year
  • The Yellowstone Caldera (crater) covers an area of 3,000 square kilometers.  It’s so large that it doesn’t appear at all similar to the volcanic craters we keep in our mind’s eye
  • The most recent Yellowstone eruption expelled an estimated 650 cubic Kilometers of molten material.  That eruption was estimated to be 10,000 times more damaging than the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption that I remember that eruption dropping ash on our neighborhood half a continent away.  Incidentally, that Mount St. Helens eruption also leveled everything within a 4,000 square kilometer area. (more…)

Today’s Top 10 Prepping Motivators

September is Preparedness Month.  Here are 10 headlines from the past few days on diverse topics to help keep you focused on your prepping:

  1. Yosemite doubles scope of hantavirus warning to 22,000; third death confirmed:  Many diseases including hantavirus can be prevented through proper pest control and sanitation (personal and environmental).  Stock what you need and know what to do.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on preventing hantavirus can be found here.
  2. Drug shortages down overall, but some linger longer:  Stocking the medicines your family needs to stay healthy is important for both mundane ‘drug shortages’ as well as societal upsets that could potentially break down the medical or drug distribution systems.  Make sure you stockpile legally by talking with your doctor or hiring a new one like Dr. Bob Olson.  Until recently Dr. Olson conducted his consultations by telephone to help preppers safely and knowledgeably stockpile critical medications.  The State of Missouri actually changed its law to close down Dr. Olson’s tele-practice.  You can still visit him in person or find a like-minded medical provider in your area.
  3. Rescuers told to keep at it after China quake kills 80:  Nature’s fury can strike anywhere at any time.  Keep on prepping and if you want to see a map showing 2.5 Magnitude or greater quakes for the last week…check out this map at the U.S. Geological Survey (as of this writing the earthquake map looks a lot like the Pacific’s Ring of Fire…it usually does).
  4. Yet another pig flu virus infects peopleZoonotic diseases (capable of cross species transmission) aren’t just creepy…they’re also scary because of their ability to mutate.  We wrote about this particular flu strain earlier this summer in Beware the Fair. (more…)

TEOTWAWKI Event Being Live Tweeted

Bad news for the population of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the much of the peninsula south of Rome, Mount Vesuvius just blew it’s top and the volcano is causing thousands of deaths.  Pliney the Elder is posting updates ‘live’ (after 1,933 years) on Twitter.  It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI)…more accurately it was The End Of The World As They Knew It (TEOTWATKI).

All kidding aside, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is staging this Twitter event based on the firsthand account of Pliney the Elder so the information is a contemporaneous, eye-witness account.  What a neat way to bring a historical account of a TEOTWAWKI event to life for a digital generation

Check it out @elder pliny.

Destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, the Roman town of Pompeii was buried deep beneath ash and preserved following the catastrophe on Aug. 24 in the year AD 79. The city remained untouched for nearly 1,700 years, preserved as if in a time capsule.

Now, 1,933 years later, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is bringing the events back to life.

The museum began Tweeting a first-hand account of the events at Pompeii as seen by Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman historian, nationalist, and commander of the Roman fleet at Misenium.

via Pliny the Elder is live-tweeting the fall of Pompeii | Fox News.

Why Prep, Part 3 Triggers & Stressors

Note from Andrew: The complete Why Prep Series has now been consolidated HERE.

Today we present the third article in our series on why to prepare for disaster.  In the first article, ‘Why Prep, The Introduction’ we asked and answered the following question:

Question:  Why Prep…why become more self-reliant?

Answer:  Because it’s the only reasonable and logical response to an unknown future and even a cursory study of history.

In the second article, ‘Why Prep, Historical and Current Examples’ we discussed examples of places and periods where preparedness could have made the difference between survival and suffering (or worse) for you and your family.  In this third installment we’ll discuss stressors and triggers for potential The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) situations.

Today we’re going to talk about stressor events and triggers.  A stressor event is an occurrence that has the potential to change a system or society.  Stressor events happen all the time and can vary dramatically in the amount of stress or influence they place on a system.  Some examples of stressor events are election outcomes, legislation, trade wars, disease outbreaks, government spending programs, wars, acts of terror, social movements, development or loss of key infrastructure (like the internet you’re browsing), information releases (like the Watergate scandal) or changes to the physical environment (like drought or natural disasters).  From a societal standpoint, stressors often manifest themselves in multiples and if significant enough disruption occurs…they can create a situation that cascades out of control.  While it’s an overly simplified model think of these stressors from the last century:

  1. Germany loses World War I and a large percentage of its reproductive age males
  2. War damage and reparations create severe economic hardship
  3. Rise of the National Socialism in Germany bringing Adolf Hitler and his Brownshirts to power (were the Brownshirts easier to recruit due to a lack of fatherly guidance?)
  4. Election of 1933 gives Hitler enough power in the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act and assume dictatorial powers

This example from history led to TEOTWAWKI for much of the world from the mid 1930’s to the mid 1940’s and eventually ushered in the atomic age.


Volcanos, Nature’s Fury and the Journey to Self Reliance

Mother Nature has been expressing her fury in a number of ways in recent months especially in and around the “Ring of Fire.”  The Ring of Fire is a particularly active region of tectonic activity running around the Pacific basin.  In addition to the earthquakes and the tsunamis that the earthquakes create there have been a number of volcanic eruptions in recent months including these two reports that caught my eye:

A volcano quiet for more than a century erupted in a New Zealand national park, spreading thick ash for several miles and causing some residents to evacuate their homes. Some domestic flights were canceled Tuesday.

Mount Tongariro spewed ash and rocks for about 30 minutes late Monday night after a few weeks of increased seismic activity. It didn’t cause any injuries or damage in the sparsely populated central North Island region. Tongariro National Park has three active volcanos…

via Volcano erupts with ash cloud in New Zealand park | Fox News.

Volcanic rock found floating in South Pacific near New Zealand

The Royal New Zealand Air Force have spotted a raft of floating volcanic rock in the South Pacific, covering 10,000 sq miles of ocean north of New Zealand. The rock, known as pumice, is created when lava from an underwater volcano comes in contact with seawater. New Zealand researchers say the source of the pumice is a seamount known as Monowai

via Volcanic rock found floating in South Pacific near New Zealand – video | World news |

Can you imagine something powerful enough to emit enough debris to create a 10,000 square mile raft of stones up to two feet thick…

Maybe you’re not concerned about the threat of Volcanic eruption because there isn’t a volcano within 500 miles of your home…but the threat of volcanic activity can affect you anywhere in the world.  Read on to find out why severe Volcanic activity is one of the most important events you should be preparing for… (more…)

Why Prep, Part 2 Historical & Current Examples

Note from Andrew: The complete Why Prep Series has now been consolidated HERE.

Last week in Why Prep, the Introduction we briefly discussed the fragility of the status quo and clarified that preparedness is not about getting ready for the ‘end of the world’… it’s about building the skills, resources and resilience to endure the transition periods following dramatic financial, environmental, societal or individual life changes.  If you haven’t read the introduction yet, I recommend that you read it before continuing by clicking on the hyperlink near the start of this paragraph..

Today we’re going to take a look at some current and historical situations and events that are/were much more survivable (financial and otherwise) for those that took the time to prepare.  For brevity’s sake I have chosen a small sampling of the historical examples available and have chosen not to include many areas of perpetual warfare (Cyprus, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Palestine/Israel, Northern Ireland, etc.).

Note:  The links included go to articles or preselected internet searches (to make results more timely) in case you’re interested in doing additional reading on that subject.  For convenience, these examples are listed by continent although many of the events/situations spanned multiple continents. (more…)

Supervolcano: Eruption by Harry Turtledove

I finally got around to reading Supervolcano by Harry Turtledove last week.  The Yellowstone supervolcano (which is apparently overdue for an eruption) is one of the single biggest perils facing the U.S. and the world.  I thought a work of fiction written by a historian (PHD in Byzantine history) would be an interesting read about how individuals and society deal with such a disaster…I was wrong.

Here is what the San Diego Union-Tribune had to say about Supervolcano:

A supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park sends lava and mud flowing toward populated areas, and clouds of ash drifting across the country. The fallout destroys crops and livestock, clogs machinery, and makes cities uninhabitable. Those who survive find themselves caught in an apocalyptic catastrophe in which humanity has no choice but to rise from the ashes and recreate the world…

via Supervolcano: Eruption – Books by Harry Turtledove – Penguin Group (USA).

My take was a little different:

The Good:

  • Interesting and likeable characters
  • Good character development
  • Loved the characters and their interactions
  • One of the characters followed was a performer in a band…LOVED the band name…it was called ‘Squirt Frog & the Evolving Tadpoles’
  • Good descriptions of the difficulties such an event would put on transportation and especially how the grit would effect engines (didn’t seem to effect air conditioning systems for some reason though).  I still remember the grit in my neighborhood from the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption and I lived half a continent away at the time.

The Bad:

  • The supervolcano event described in the book was very minor compared to most projections based on previous eruptions of the Yellowstone supervolcano.
  • Very little mention of the difficulty such an eruption would put on the economy

The Ugly:

  • Virtually no preparedness actions described in the lead up to the eruption even though some of the characters knew it was coming.
  • I really wanted to see a historian’s view on how individuals and society would adjust to the resulting economic upheaval and damage to infrastructure such an event would create.  Turtledove did throw in some difficulties like soda companies having to go back to using sugar because high fructose corn syrup was no longer available (no crops from the heartland)…but his description was a far cry from the mass hunger and starvation such an event would likely create.

In summary, I did enjoy the book but would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t looking for the TEOTWAWKI tie in.  If Turtledove had just written about the characters and left out the would have been a much better book.

Amazon Link:  Supervolcano: Eruption

Audible Link:

Supervolcano: Eruption Supervolcano: EruptionA supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park sends lava and mud flowing toward populated areas, and clouds of ash drifting across the country…

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